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Title: Remaking of face and community of practices : an ethnographic study of what ELT reform means to local and expatrate teachers in today's China
Other Titles: Mian zi he she qun cao xi de zai zao : jin ri Zhongguo ying yu jiao xue gai ge dui ben tu he wai guo jiao shi de chong ji
面子和社群操習的再造 : 今日中國英語教學改革對本土和外國教師的沖擊
Authors: Ouyang, Huhua (歐陽護華)
Department: Dept. of English
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy
Issue Date: 2000
Publisher: Dept. of English, City University of Hong Kong
Subjects: Educational change -- China
English teachers -- China
Notes: CityU Call Number: LB2832.4.C6 O98 2000
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 157-168).
Thesis (Ph.D.)--City University of Hong Kong, 2000
vi, 201 leaves : ill. (some col.) ; 30 cm.
Type: Thesis
Abstract: This ethnographic study is about the micro-politics of doing English language teaching reform, and how this impacts on some ordinary teachers from remote areas in China and expatriate ELT experts from the West, and how their reforming actions have caused conflicts of various kinds between them and the communities they were in. The evidence is based on two real cases. A seven-year story of one middle school English teacher is first reconstructed to trace how her experience of learning and applying a communicative language teaching approach could reshape her power relations with students, teachers, and leaders in her schools located in a countryside city. Doing ELT reform resulted in a dramatic and often traumatic up-and-down of her status, constant construction and deconstruction of her identity and values, and challenges to and disintegration of the community she was in. The study then presents a fully triangulated account of some expatriate ELT experts working in Guangdong University of Foreign Studies (Guangwai), one of the leading pro-reform universities of foreign languages in mainland China. Examined are what, how, and why Chinese students, teachers, administration, and leaders, complained about the expatriate teachers. It reveals a puzzling contradiction in that the very university which invited the expensive foreign experts to demonstrate the Western style of interactive, discovery-oriented, autonomous learning, criticized and denied the expatriates' reform effort. In order to understand the nature of this contradiction, and guided by the researcher's twenty-year participant observation in the university, various aspects of the "community of practices" (Lave & Wenger, 1991) of the university as a danwei (Chao & Chen, 1997) are analyzed and related to the conflicts between the university and the expatriates. These include: job and residence immobility, collective rituals of learning and teaching, egalitarian social welfare, anti-bureaucratizing administration, harmony-oriented interpersonal communication, authoritarian yet meritocratic leadership, socialization through apprenticeship, information control, the long-term reward system, and the impact of recent marketization. The findings suggest that what is seemingly a pedagogy-only and beneficial-to-all reform entails in fact a remaking of ideologies, power relations, and the remaking of the community of practices from a danwei-type to a civil-society type (characterized by contractual relationships, individualism, egalitarianism, and mobility) of "discourse system" (Scollon & Scollon, 1995). It is this remaking of face relations and community of practices and especially its detrimental impact on various senior and powerful stake-holders in the pre-existing social ordering that affected the local and expatriate reformers' experiences as "martyrs to cultural diffusion" (Waller, 1932). An important implication and contribution of this study to second language teacher education is that teachers should be adequately prepared for such socio-cultural, or micro-political perils of second language teaching reform.
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