A Frog in a Well Shaft: Lessons from China on Learning to Teach

Elizabeth Spalding, Jian Wang, Emily Lin, John Butcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Understanding the interplay among experience, beliefs, and contexts of teaching in preservice and inservice teachers' learning to teach is crucial to improving teacher quality for diverse populations. This study examined the impact of a summer camp English teaching experience in China on the ideas and practice of two White, middle-class female teacher education students with varying backgrounds and experience. Data sources included surveys, interviews, and classroom observations. The study found that when teachers approach new experiences as learners, they are more likely to adopt constructivist pedagogy. In addition, the study found that professional experience and credentials are not necessarily good indicators of how well teachers will perform with students whose cultures are different from their own. Rather, context, personal history, identity, and the disposition to view teaching and learning as reciprocal and recursive processes are interconnected factors that significantly influence teacher development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-134
Number of pages22
JournalNew Educator
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2009

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