The Distance between “Ivory Tower” and “Lectern”: Exploration of Core Competency for Early Career Teachers in Chinese Secondary Schools

Year: 2019

Author: Yan, Xiaojing, Chan, Philip, Wing, Keung, Zhang, Hongzhi

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This research explores early career teachers’ competency in Chinese secondary schools. In the research, early career teachers are defined as whose teaching time is 0 to 3 years. The teacher education system in China is based on normal colleges / universities and involved in other higher education institutions / universities, in addition linked pre-service teacher education and in-service teacher training. Therefore, some of early career teachers do not graduate from teacher education majors so that they do not have essential educational knowledge. However, their disciplines knowledge is professional. In addition, the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China (MOE) issued the Professional Standards for Secondary Schools’ Teachers (Trial) in 2012. The standards’ contents are (1) professional ideology and ethics, (2) professional knowledge, (3) professional competency. Based on teacher standards, some early career teachers cannot obtain teacher competency during their initial teaching time so that the state, schools and teachers do some professional development programs for improving their teacher competency. In the research, I will discuss the relationships among teacher competency, teacher standards and professional development to explore: (1) what is early career teachers’ competency? (2) how do Chinese early career teachers improve teachers’ competency through professional development? (3) what are the challenges of Chinese early career teachers to develop their teachers’ competency? Qualitative research will be the methodology. The data used are from 7 early career teachers’ interview. They are from two secondary schools in Zhejiang province. The analysis is conducted using content analysis with the assistance of the software NVIVO 12. The initial conclusions are teacher standards are the lead for improving teachers’ competencies and professional development is the pathway for improving early career teachers’ competencies. Furthermore, in teaching practices, educational knowledge is the main point for Chinese early career teachers to improve. Besides, teaching ethics competency in China also is different from western countries, so Chinese early career teachers need to learn and improve it too. Furthermore, teaching practices are vital competencies for Chinese early career teachers, which are separated into classroom practices, interactive practices and technologies practices.

Key words: Early career teachers; Teacher competency