Teachers' understandings of the 2011 PRC curriculum for teaching English

Lei, Man (2016) Teachers' understandings of the 2011 PRC curriculum for teaching English. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis reports an enquiry into Chinese primary and junior high school English teachers’ perceptions of, and responses to The Revised Curriculum (2011) for Full-time Compulsory Education. This document claims to hold a very different view of English teaching from pervious curricula, but this claim is largely unexplored.

The research first aims to understand the challenges The Revised Curriculum (2011) poses for primary and junior high school teachers of English in the PRC. On the basis of this, the research also aims to understand teachers’ beliefs about The Revised Curriculum (2011) and what challenges they identify. Research into effective teaching gives a prominent role to teacher beliefs and knowledge not only about teaching, but also about changing any existing practices. Fullan (1993) argues that any educational reform ultimately relies on teachers, so their views and perceptions are pivotal to the success of The Revised Curriculum (2011).

The study was conducted in two phases. Phase one involved a document content analysis of the 2001 and 2011 curricula to identify the changes aimed for in the 2011 curriculum and evaluates how these changes might affect teachers. In this phase of the research, a novel approach was taken to examine teachers' views of the Revised Curriculum (2011) through their activities on web forums in China. Their comments were sampled and analysed using NVivo to generate a map of their views and the relationships between them. The Phase one research showed that The Revised Curriculum (2011) is different from the 2001 version in some important ways. It foregrounds the humanistic value of student-centred teaching and learning, while giving teachers free choice of teaching method and a new role by contributing to curriculum development for the classes they teach from reflecting on the effectiveness of their methods and practices.

Phase two of the research, based on the findings of Phase one, used written teacher questionnaire responses and semi-structured individual interviews in order to collect the views of a wider sample of teachers. This thesis reports the results and analysis of the teachers’ views and perceptions. The findings amplified the findings from the Phase one research and suggest that teachers have a range of concerns. The teachers in this study were uncertain about their new role; they were not clear about what a shift to student-centred teaching and learning implied. The teachers were also uncertain about the nature of reflection on their own practice and the possible accountability this reflection might entail. This study suggests these teachers were finding it challenging to understand the notion of the teacher as a professional who does not simply know and deliver the curriculum according to the new definition, but is seen as responsible for designing and creating the curriculum for their own particular students. This study also identifies an important tension between the published curriculum and the assessment system for English in China which, if left unresolved, is likely to leave teachers unable to meet the demands of both.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Medwell, Jane
Richardson, Katherine
Keywords: China, English Language Teaching, Curriculum Reform, The Revised Curriculum (2011), Teachers’ New Role
Subjects: P Language and literature > PE English
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 33831
Depositing User: Lei, Man
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2016 06:40
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2016 00:12
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/33831

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