Hopes and frustrations: The perceptions of Asian teachers regarding their experiences in Australia and in their home countries

Year: 2012

Author: Kong, Melinda

Type of paper: Abstract refereed



There is an increasing number of Asian teachers of English who are pursuing their postgraduate degrees from English-speaking countries. However, most programmes concentrate on providing professional knowledge to these in-service teachers, without paying much attention to their personal experiences and identity construction while pursuing their studies and living in the English-speaking countries. These two aspects are crucial in their development as teachers. My study explores, among others, the personal experiences and identity construction of Asian teachers who were furthering their studies in Australia in order to obtain their Master of TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) degrees.


Data was collected through interviews and email correspondence with these in-service teachers over a year.


The current presentation focuses on the perspectives of teachers from Vietnam, Indonesia, Taiwan, China and Brunei regarding the challenges that they faced in teaching English in their home countries. During the data collection period, these teachers recounted how they took different agentive steps in order to deal with the various challenges before their pursuit of professional development in Australia. Furthermore, they reflected on how their experiences in the English-speaking country have not only given them more exposure to various concepts and teaching methods, but also given them an awareness of how these concepts relate to their personal lives and identity construction while being in the country. Some of them also observed how Australian teachers carried out teaching and learning activities in classes in Australia. These Asian teachers' personal experiences and observation in Australia have assisted some of them in having alternatives in dealing with various difficulties when they returned to their home countries.


This presentation aims to offer a different view to help shed light on multifaceted aspects that in-service teachers take into consideration in their development as English language teachers. Through the findings of the current study, it is suggested that TESOL programmes in English-speaking countries need to actively link international in-service teachers' pursuit of professional knowledge to their lived experiences outside the classroom.