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Title: Impact of residential courses in the UK on the professional development of the Chinese teachers of English and the educational change in the western provinces of China
Author: Zhang, Xiaorong
Awarding Body: University of Reading
Current Institution: University of Reading
Date of Award: 2013
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English teachers' professional development is playing an important role in Curriculum Reform in China. Overseas training, part of the Chinese government strategy, has received little attention in research. This study aims to make a contribution to our understanding of the impact of this overseas training by exploring the perceptions of secondary teachers of English on a three month UK-based course. Of particular note is that the participants come from the less developed western provinces and that the focus is not only on the end of course evaluation but on what happens in participants' classrooms on return to China. A mixed methods case study approach was adopted to address research questions centring on the impact of the training on participants' English language proficiency, their knowledge of language teaching methodology, their beliefs about teaching EFL, their understanding of British culture and their approaches to English teaching and, finally, their professional development. Data were collected from a cohort of 38 teachers attending the same course, using pre- and post-course surveys; focus group discussions at the end of the course with the whole cohort; and interviews with five of the participants both before they left the UK and six months later. The findings showed that their language skills, especially in listening and speaking, had improved; their knowledge of English teaching methodology increased, with heightened awareness of pedagogical knowledge and sensitivities; and their attitudes towards learners and their own professionalism as teachers of EFL had undergone significant change. Moreover, they achieved a better understanding of British culture through strengthened intercultural awareness. By bridging theory and practice, the course was laying down important foundations for educational reform. The extent to which they had been able to implement change in their classroom practice on their return, however, varied from teacher to teacher and was significantly constrained by the examination-driven curriculum.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available