Towards A New Professionalism for English Language Teachers in China: Changes in Beliefs and Attitudes, and Classroom Practice
Degree: Doctoral Thesis
Authors: David William Sansom
Supervisors: Doctor Andrew Found (University of Saint Joseph) Co-supervisor: Doctor Vin Davies (Visiting Professor, University of Saint Joseph)
This doctoral dissertation focuses on teacher education in the context of experienced tertiary English language teachers in mainland China. It investigates the changes in teachers’ beliefs and attitudes, and in their classroom practice, that result from an external inservice education and training (INSET) course. It follows up subsequent change in teachers’ classroom practice, and in their beliefs and attitudes, in their teaching contexts one year after the INSET course. This dissertation presents a review of the literature in the field of second language teacher education, shifts in research paradigms in the field, and the characterisation of inservice teacher professional development. The nature of teachers’ beliefs and attitudes, and of teachers’ classroom practice, are synthesised from the literature, and are related to research on stages of innovations. Models of change (from beliefs and attitudes to classroom practice, as well as alternative pathways) are discussed, and a conceptualisation of the processes of teacher change in the context of innovations for experienced inservice teachers is proposed.
The research presents a case study of one group of teachers attending an INSET course, and uses qualitative data collection, analysis and interpretation. Findings are discussed which provide insight and guidance for INSET provision in the context of experienced teachers, and which add to the research in the field of teacher education in the context of China. The findings suggest that in the complexity of INSET among individual teachers any one model of the process of teacher change may not be applicable, but rather that multiple possible models of change exist for each teacher—in beliefs and attitudes, and in classroom practice—and for each innovation. It is likely that each individual teacher experiences different change models for different innovations during the same INSET course. The significance and implications of the findings are discussed in relation to INSET provision, teacher change, and theories of teacher education and development, as well as the limits of the study, and future research areas suggested.