The professional development of teacher educators in Shanghai

Qiu, Chao (2015) The professional development of teacher educators in Shanghai. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Teacher educators have increasingly been considered as a crucial occupational group for improving educational standards by the Chinese government, but they are under-researched. Currently, many teacher educators in different teacher education institutions in Shanghai are not identified as teacher educators. Therefore, their contribution to teacher education is not sufficiently valued and support for their professional development is limited. A better understanding of what identities teacher educators have is necessary in order to help define their diverse professional development needs and provide the support necessary for them. However, from the study’s findings it became clear that ‘identity’ is often misunderstood as ‘role and responsibility’ in the Chinese context. Therefore, this study refocused more on exploring the roles and responsibilities, experiences, understandings, and beliefs that guide the professional learning and practices of teacher educators in three different types of institutional settings (university-based, college-based, and teacher training school-based) in Shanghai.
This study used a mixed-methods design, utilising both quantitative and qualitative data concurrently, using fifteen teacher educator interviews (nine individual interviews and six group interviews) and the online Teacher Educator Survey (n=252). All data were analysed in a systematic way. The discussion of the findings draws particularly on the policies on teacher educators in Shanghai, on research on the professional development of teacher educators across the world and on the theory of organisational culture that involves how individuals respond to policy in particular settings.
This study produced a number of key findings: the teacher educators in Shanghai were identified as an attractive professional group, in which the professionals had a strong sense of commitment and willingness to stay. The roles of Shanghai’s teacher educators and the related expertise, career pathways and motivations, were determined by their different organisational cultures, which were affected by both national and regional policy directions. Teacher educators in Shanghai made strong demands on both the purposes of, and the approaches to, professional development and these were diversely manifested and were highly consistent with the different professional roles, policy directions and organisational cultures. Although Shanghai’s teacher educators were provided with satisfactory ‘physical support’ for their professional development, the non-physical support did not seem sufficient. This study provides evidence of the complexities of teacher educators’ roles, responsibilities, and professional development, which may be of benefit for teacher educators, teachers’ associations, leaders of teacher education institutions and policy makers internationally, as it highlights the importance of understanding and supporting the need to build, sustain and improve teacher education. At a theoretical level, the contribution of this study is a more nuanced understanding in terms of a model of teacher educators’ roles; of the different impact of organisational culture on teacher educators depending on their institutional type; and of their expressed professional commitment and loyalty.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: teacher educator, professional development, policy change, organisational culture, roles and responsibilities
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
Supervisor's Name: Livingston, Professor Kay and Hulme, Dr. Moira
Date of Award: 2015
Depositing User: Dr Chao Qiu
Unique ID: glathesis:2015-6798
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2015 14:30
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2015 11:00

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