Exploring Professional Development from Brief Experiences: Case Studies of Secondary EFL Teachers in China

  •  Yuan Qingling    
  •  Yuan Qunhua    
  •  Wan Ying    


The current situation of educational reforms since 1990s has brought up a booming demand of competent EFL teachers because of economic globalization and further opening-up policy in China. So it’s vital and significant to explore EFL teachers’ professional development in order to promote English language teaching. Based on the Constructivism Perspective in educational psychology and new trends in Second Language Teacher Education, this research focuses on six secondary EFL teachers’ critical incidents and narrates their brief experiences by deep interview and field notes. After categorized analysis through recurring themes, the discussions about four domains (i.e. learning experiences, knowledge & beliefs, teaching practice and social context) are summarized below. These teachers have experienced pre-service & in-service and formal & informal learning that has different features. Secondly, they hold some common knowledge & beliefs, which are always developing but fluctuate with realities. Next, their language teaching develops from initial to survival then to mastery and personalization, but each stage is distinctive in different situations. Social context facilitates or constrains their professional development, but their responses to it are various to seek personal and professional balance. In conclusion, it interprets five interactive factors in the process of teacher professional development: Normal education and professional programs play essential roles; Self-directed teaching & school-based activities provide diverse paths; Perfection of language & teaching serves as peculiar professional qualities; Love for students & love for teaching functions as original driving force; Chinese social context works as potential external stimuli. Finally, it presents some feasible suggestions.

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