This paper focuses on the work of senior high school teachers in three illustrative local authority regions of mainland China. It discusses interview and focus group data collected as part of ESRC/DfID-funded research which examined notions of quality as experienced by key stakeholders (national and local authority policy makers, teachers, head teachers and students). Building on previous international literature and current Chinese education policy, this paper examines aspects of teachers’ work as experienced within the context of a fast developing emerging economy, which emphasises a clear link between individual and national development. Barriers identified as impacting on the provision of good quality teaching arose, largely, from the pressures due to changing societal patterns and the demands of far reaching curriculum reform, which highlighted tensions between a traditional reliance on the primacy of exam results and a newer demand for all round development and lifelong learning. In addition, there were common concerns with various structural and funding inequalities, both across different regions and between urban and rural schools, which could lead to differential student experience, shortages of specialised teachers, and a lack of opportunity for good quality professional development.
Peng, W.J.; McNess, E.; Thomas, S.; Wu XiangRong; Zhang, C.; Li JianZhong; Tian HuiSheng. Emerging perceptions of teacher quality and teacher development in China. International Journal of Educational Development (2013) : Online first [DOI: 10.1016/j.ijedudev.2013.04.005]