Community of Inquiry as Teacher Professional Development in China: New Literacies, New Complexities

Community of Inquiry as Teacher Professional Development in China: New Literacies, New Complexities

Hiller A. Spires, Shea N. Kerkhoff, Meixun Zheng
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2924-8.ch006
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Over the past decades, improving teacher instructional quality has been a top priority in the Chinese government's K-12 educational reform agenda. Within this reform context, the purposes of this chapter are to share: (a) a community of inquiry model of professional development on new literacies that is being used with teachers in China; and (b) qualitative data from three teachers' perceptions of the professional development, their classroom practices, and challenges they are confronting as they implement changes in their educational system. Emerging themes indicated that teachers embraced pedagogical change along a continuum, from resistant to completely open, within the context of their school culture. Challenges to pedagogical change included teacher cultural identity and lack of time and commitment needed for implementation. Future research will include more in-depth analysis of the change process that Chinese teachers embrace as they conceptualize and apply new literacies and innovative pedagogies in their classrooms.
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Driven by continuous social and economic development and the need to stay competitive in the global economy, never before has the Chinese government placed so much emphasis on improving its education quality across the nation. Realizing that teachers play a critical role in improving overall education quality, the central government has carried out a series of reform policies, which aim to improve teacher quality through continuing education and professional development. Over the past decades, improving teacher quality has been a top priority in the Chinese government’s K-12 educational reform agenda.

In 1993, the central government created the Teacher Law, which for the first time officially identified teaching as a profession (Ministry of Education, 1993). In the same year, another document by the Ministry of Education, Outline for Education Reform and Development in China, placed teachers at the center of the nation’s social development and international competitiveness. This document asserts, “A strong nation lies in its education, and a strong education system lies in its teachers” (p. 8, cited in Paine & Fang, 2006). In 1999, the Provisions on the Further Education of Primary and Middle School Teachers was published by the Chinese Ministry of Education; it aimed to involve all primary and secondary teachers in continuing education and professional growth (Zhang, 2010).

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