Professional development of secondary EFL teachers: Lessons from China

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Abstract

Since China initiated its modernization program in the late 1970s, professional development of secondary teachers of English as a foreign language (EFL) has been given much prominence because of the perceived important role that English can play in the modernization drive. This article provides a critical overview of secondary EFL teacher education in China with the intent of offering useful lessons to foreign language teacher education in other parts of the world. The critique is made within a framework that draws on theoretical and empirical research on teacher education in four areas: (a) the knowledge base for teaching, (b) pedagogical effectiveness in fostering knowledge acquisition and intellectual qualities that support continuing professional development, (c) professional development in the community of practice, and (d) the coherence of professional development work. Through the analytical lenses provided by the framework, the article scrutinizes two curriculums for secondary EFL teacher preparation programs and the instructional practices prevalent in these programs, It also examines secondary EFL teachers' continuing professional development in the workplace and through formally organized in-service programs. Based on the critical examination, suggestions are made for addressing identified problems and improving the effectiveness and relevance of the EFL teacher education system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)654-705
Number of pages52
JournalTeachers College Record
Volume107
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education

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