Achieving Rural Teachers' Development Through a WeChat Professional Learning Community: Two Cases From Guangdong Province

Achieving Rural Teachers' Development Through a WeChat Professional Learning Community: Two Cases From Guangdong Province

Xue Zheng (East China Normal University, China), Haixia Liu (LuoGang Middle School, China), Dongmei Lin (NaLong Primary School, China) and Jiacheng Li (East China Normal University, China)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 12
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2924-8.ch017
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Abstract

WeChat group is a new network communication platform, which gradually influences rural teachers' development and brings some specific issues into schooling. This chapter focuses on two rural banzhurens, Ms. Liu and Ms. Lin, from Guangdong Province, to explore WeChat groups' influences on rural teachers' development. On the basis of interviews and data analysis, the authors summarize the main activities that the two rural banzhurens have taken part in; outline the development they have obtained in three areas, including courage, benevolence, and wisdom; examine how rural teachers achieve their development based on the WeChat group; and discuss the limitations of this online tool.
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Background

The situation of rural teachers’ development is not always favorable. Research literature has shown that rural teachers are often poor, and their workload is heavy (Sun & Lin, 2014). They have few opportunities to benefit from teacher training, while at the same time enduring heavy teaching loads (Zhou, 2015). In addition, the aim of the training is often unclear when rural teachers are given opportunities for professional development training (Huang, 2008). Given these conditions, many teachers do not want to be banzhurens.

It is widely recognized that the Chinese government should provide strong support for rural teachers’ development. A plan was designed and published to improve rural teachers’ poor quality and strengthen teachers’ training in rural schools and weak urban schools (Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, 2005). Another policy, published in 2010, also proposed to focus on improving the quality of rural teachers and to give teacher awards for long-term teaching in the countryside (Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, 2010). The Plan of Supporting Rural Teachers (2015-2020) proposed to expand channels to add rural teachers and improve rural teachers’ wages (General Office of the State Council, 2015). As for banzhurens, The Training Program of National Primary and Secondary School established that all new banzhurens should take part in training before they take on their role (Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, 2006).

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