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Research engagement and educational decentralisation: problematising primary school English teachers' research experiences in China

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Teachers are encouraged to enhance professional competence through reflective practice and they are also asked to undertake research to generate evidence for their professional practices. This paper reports on an inquiry into a group of primary school English language teachers' research engagement in the province of Guangdong on the Chinese mainland. The inquiry explored the effect of educational reforms on the participants' research engagement through the use of an open-ended questionnaire and group interviews. The inquiry revealed that research engagement had become an important part of the teachers' professional lives. Emerging findings from the inquiry also problematised their research engagement as it was found to have been undermined by a competitive promotion mechanism, the teachers' conceptualisations of research and challenges in the knowledge dissemination process. The paper ends with reflections on how to make teacher research “educational” for teachers and serve as an effective way for professional development.
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Keywords: educational decentralisation; evidence-based practice; professional development; recentralisation; teacher research

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of English, Hong Kong Institute of Education, Hong Kong, SAR, China 2: Department of Applied Language Studies and Linguistics, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

Publication date: 2011-05-01

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