From a lecturer to a researcher: a threestage process of science teachers’professional development in mainland China

Author: Jing Lin

Abstract: Established in 1949, the People’s Republic of China has gone through 70 years of history. From China’s initial inception to the modern day it has grown quickly and become a major force on the world stage, the basic education in mainland China has contributed to cultivating student’s talents and developing qualified workers. Specifically, in the 1980s, after implementing a national policy of economic reform and opening up mainland China, China has started a continuous reform in basic education aiming to shift the examination-oriented educational system to literacy oriented education so as to help students to become modern productive citizens in the twenty-first century. Moving into the twenty-first Century China expanded its education infrastructure and instituted compulsory education from grades 1 through 9, the law was intended to create a compulsory 9-year education. This first round of educational reform began in 1986 helping to ensure every child went to school. The second round began in 2001 when the Ministry of Education promulgated new curriculums, which put forward several new philosophies related to the implementation of literacy-oriented education for the first time in mainland China. The third round began in 2012 when the 18th National People’s Congress put forward the fundamental goal of the education named Lideshuren, which means the basic education must make efforts for students’ development in moral and core competencies, pushing reforms related to human-centered and quality-oriented education to develop students to be more capable in the twenty-first century. Teachers are the key to improving education quality. Each basic education reform in mainland China has triggered a paradigm shift in teacher education. In particular, the first-round reform started in the 1980s has caused mainland China to attend to the professionalization of teachers. Three reforms in science teacher professional development have occurred in the past 30 years. The professional identity of science teachers changed from that of the lecturer in the science classroom to that of the facilitator of science beliefs and is morphing into that of a practice-based-researcher in science teaching. This paper outlines the characteristics and effects of the three stage Chinese science teachers’ professional development. It also points out the difficulties and challenges science teachers currently meet in professional development. Hence, the paper provides a case for creating a team of professional science teachers in developing countries. This effort will provide an exemplar to help improve students’ scientific literacy all over the world.

Keywords: Science teacher professional development (STPD); Double-base teaching; Scientific literacy; Key competencies

Publication:Asia-Pacific Science Education download pdf