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An investigation into perceptions of Non-native English Teachers in Shanghai about their English teaching role and responsibilities in secondary schools

MELLEN, BRADLEY,DEAN (2014) An investigation into perceptions of Non-native English Teachers in Shanghai about their English teaching role and responsibilities in secondary schools. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF (EDD Thesis) - Accepted Version


The Non-native English (NNE) teachers who teach English as a Foreign Language face unique societal and job-related challenges. NNE teachers have been a significant part of China’s development and educational reform since 1978. The perceptions and beliefs of six Shanghai-based English teachers with varying degrees of teaching experience, while performing their language teaching duties at the secondary school level are discussed herein. While teaching and use of English have been government goals since 1978, observing teaching patterns and the underlying theories at work, have only recently begun to be elaborated upon.

This ethnographic study, using Grounded Theory analysis, through in-depth interviews and classroom observations; elaborates how English language teaching within China’s educational system and the changes over time affect teacher perspectives. Data collected from in-depth, unstructured interviews were analysed and categorized using Classic Grounded Theory. Continuous, comparative analysis of interview data was carried out, resulting in an understanding of language teaching roles and routines. Classroom observations with accompanying discussion afterwards are described and provide a greater insight into the perspectives of language teachers. Comparison of the perspectives of three generations of teachers gave further insight into how social and educational lives are changing over time.

Major findings
Underlying theories uncovered from data analysis are put forth, including: The theory of the dominance of the high-stakes university entrance examination held at the end of secondary school and the teachers’ personal teaching preferences, called ‘inner curriculum’ are discussed as emerging patterns in the thought processes of these teachers. Other emerging theories uncovered in this study included teachers’ consistent interest in and knowledge of their students’ learning processes and progress, and how language teachers responded to ongoing elements of change. This study provides analysis of the inner workings within Shanghai’s English teaching classrooms through the eyes of these teachers.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Education
Keywords:Shanghai, English teachers, non-native, perceptions, roles, responsibilities
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Education, School of
Thesis Date:2014
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:13 Oct 2014 11:37

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