Teacher agency and school-based curriculum in China’s non-elite schools
- 584 Downloads
Mainland China has been embarking on a nation-wide education reform as part of its modernisation project for the past few decades. A relatively under-researched topic is teacher agency in non-elite schools where educators critically shape their reactions to new situations brought about by the reform. Focussing on the introduction of school-based curriculum in China, this article discusses how some educators from non-elite schools respond strategically to new opportunities and resources by promoting indigenous knowledge via engaging teaching methods. The essay illustrates, through two examples, how non-elite schools seek to provide the best kind of education available to their students by integrating Confucian and ethnic cultures into the formal curriculum. China’s experience demonstrates the exercise of teacher agency that arises from the interplay of human efforts, available capital and contingent factors. It also highlights the potential of utilising indigenous sources and synthesising them with non-local sources as part of implementing education reform.
KeywordsChina Education reform Non-elite schools School-based curriculum Teacher agency
- Biesta, G. J. J., & Tedder, M. (2006). How is agency possible? Towards an ecological understanding of agency-as-achievement. Working paper 5, Exeter: The Learning Lives project.Google Scholar
- Cai, B., & Jin, Y. (2010). Realistic circumstances and future choices of reforms in basic education in China. Journal of Shanghai Normal University (Philosophy and Social Sciences Edition), 39(1), 92–102. (in Chinese).Google Scholar
- Chen, Y. P., & Liang, Z. (2007). Educational attainment of migrant children: The forgotten story of China’s urbanisation. In E. Hannum & A. Park (Eds.), Education and reform in China (pp. 117–132). Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Cheng, Z. (2011). Jiaoyu gongping lunshu yu Zhongguo jiaoyu zhengce zhi yanjiu—yi Hunan jiaoyu qiangshen zhengce weili [Research on discourse in educational fairness and educational policy in China—Using the example of educational strengthening of the provinces in Hunan]. (Unpublished master’s thesis). National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University.Google Scholar
- De Brauw, A., & Rozelle, S. (2007). Returns to education in rural China. In E. Hannum & A. Park (Eds.), Education and reform in China (pp. 207–223). Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Dei, G. J. S. (2002). Rethinking the role of indigenous knowledges in the academy. NALL working paper # 58. Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto.Google Scholar
- Durrant, J., & Holden, G. (2006). Teachers leading change. London: Paul Chapman.Google Scholar
- Fenwick, T., & Edwards, R. (2010). Actor-network theory in education. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Frost, D. (2006). The concept of ‘agency in leadership for learning. Leading and Managing, 12(2), 19–28.Google Scholar
- Giddens, A. (1984). The constitution of society. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
- Hannum, E., & Park, A. (2007a). Academic achievement and engagement in rural China. In E. Hannum & A. Park (Eds.), Education and reform in China (pp. 154–172). Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Hannum, E., & Park, A. (Eds.). (2007b). Education and reform in China. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Hong, Y. (2015). Teacher mediated agency in educational reform in China. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
- Jin, S. (2007). Curriculum reform: A major project that cannot be accomplished in a hurry. In Q.-Q. Zhong & G.-P. Qu (Eds.), Reflections on education in China (pp. 136–140). Shanghai: East China Normal University Press. (in Chinese).Google Scholar
- Jin, X. (2011). Shinian kegai: gaide zenyang? [Ten years of curriculum reform: What is the outcome?]. Guangming Ribao. Retrieved from http://news.guoxue.com/article.php?articleid=29420.
- Law, E. H. (2011). School-based curriculum innovations: A case study in mainland China. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 1(2), 156–166.Google Scholar
- Law, H.-F. E., & Li, C. (Eds.). (2013). Curriculum innovations in changing societies: Chinese perspectives from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Mainland China. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers.Google Scholar
- Li, W., Park, A., & Wang, S. (2007). School equity in rural China. In E. Hannum & A. Park (Eds.), Education and reform in China (pp. 27–43). Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Lu, J. (2001). On the indigenousness of Chinese pedagogy. In R. Hayhoe & J. Pan (Eds.), Knowledge across cultures: A Contribution to dialogue among civilisations (pp. 249–253). Hong Kong: University of Hong Kong, Comparative Education Research Centre.Google Scholar
- Marsh, C., Day, C., Hanney, L., & McCutcheon, G. (1990). Reconceptualising SBCD. London: Falmer Press.Google Scholar
- Ministry of Education (2001). Notice of the issuance of ‘basic education curriculum reform programme (Trial)’ by the ministry of education (in Chinese). Retrieved from http://www.gov.cn/gongbao/content/2002/content_61386.htm/.
- Postiglione, G. A. (2007). School access in rural Tibet. In E. Hannum & A. Park (Eds.), Education and reform in China (pp. 93–116). Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Priestley, M., Biesta, G. J. J. & Robinson, S. (2012) Teachers as agents of change: An exploration of the concept of teacher agency. Working paper. http://dspace.stir.ac.uk/bitstream/1893/9266/1/What%20is%20teacher%20agency-%20final.pdf.
- Roberts, H. (1998). Indigenous knowledges and Western science: Perspectives from the Pacific. In D. Hodson (Ed.), Science and technology education and ethnicity: An Aotearoa/New Zealand perspective. Proceedings of a conference held at the Royal Society of New Zealand, Thorndon, Wellington, May 7–8, 1996. The Royal Society of New Zealand Miscellaneous Series #50.Google Scholar
- Root, D. (2014). Debunking the myth of standardised education to promote equity and rigour. In A. T. Costigan & L. Grey (Eds.), Demythologising educational reforms: Responses to the political and corporate takeover of education (pp. 68–86). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Ryan, J. (2011). Introduction. In J. Ryan (Ed.), Education reform in China: Changing concepts, contexts and practices (pp. 1–17). Oxford: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Tan, C. (2016). Educational policy borrowing in China: Looking west or looking east? Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Tan, C., & Chua, C. S. K. (2015). Education policy borrowing in China: Has the West wind overpowered the East wind? Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education, 45(5):686–704.Google Scholar
- Wang, B. (2012). School-based curriculum development in China: A Chinese-Dutch cooperative pilot project. Enschede: Netherlands Institute for Curriculum Development.Google Scholar
- Wang, Z., & Xiong, M. (2013). Xin kecheng gaige tuijinzhong cunzai de wenti, chengyin ji duice [The existing problems, causes and strategies in implementing the new curriculum reform]. Jiaoyu Lilun Yu Shijian, 8, 14–16.Google Scholar
- Wu, G.-P. (2007). Why be confident about curriculum change. In Q.-Q. Zhong & G. Qu (Eds.), Reflections on education in China (pp. 164–166). Shanghai: East China Normal University Press. (in Chinese).Google Scholar
- Wu, D. (2010). Zhongguo jiaoyu gaige fazhan yanjiu [Research on the development of educational reform in China]. Beijing: Jiaoyu Kexue Chubanshe.Google Scholar
- Xie, G., Huang, C., & Zhou, S. (Eds.). (2010). Jujiao kegai juesheng ketang: Xin kecheng gaige lunwen huicui [Focussing on curriculum reform for winning classrooms: Essays on the new curriculum reform]. Zhejiang: Zhejiang daxue chubanshe.Google Scholar
- Yang, D. (2014). Xinkecheng gaige de deshi he shenhua: jianyu Wang Cesan jiaoshou jiaoliu [The pros, cons and deepening of the new curriculum reform: exchange with Professor Wang Cesan]. Xiandai Jiaoyu Kexue, 6. Retrieved from http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_492471c80102e77a.html.
- Yao, H., & Xu, Z. (Eds.). (2014). Zhongguo xibu fazhan baogao [Annual report on development in Western region of China]. China: Shehui Kexue Wenxian Chubanshe.Google Scholar