Curriculum Reform and Professional Development: A Case Study on Chinese Teacher Educators

Mar. 10, 2010

Source: Professional Development in Education, Volume 36, Issue 1 & 2 
March 2010, pages 373 – 391.

(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This article describes a study on teacher educators' professional development in the context of national curriculum reform in China.

Research Questions

The study addresses the following research questions:
What has been done by teacher education institutes regarding curriculum reform and teacher educators' professional practices to ensure that the quality of teacher instruction meets the requirements of the NCBE?
How do teacher educators think about their own professional roles in view of the curriculum reform?
What issues have arisen concerning the professional development of teacher educators in the age of education reform?

To explore these questions, this article presents a case study on Chinese teacher educators' professional development in the context of education reform.
It explains the background of the implementation of the new curriculum of basic education and its impacts on teacher education. Also, it reviews the professional standards of teacher educators in some developed countries, and develops an analytical framework of teacher educators' professional development.

Based on an empirical study in a state normal university of China, the paper illustrates the current curriculum of teacher education and teacher educators' professional practices.

X Normal University—a case study

The XNU study is comprised of five in-depth interviews of faculty and administrators, and one focus group of 12 pre-service teachers.


The study has found that Chinese curriculum reform of basic education did not make the fundamental impact on teacher education curriculum that most scholars expected; consequently, the professional practices of teacher educators did not change to include the reformed curriculum of basic education.

Furthermore, the study found that both teacher educators and academic administrators cherish an idealistic vision of education, targeting the cultivation of the holistic person to encourage students' lifelong development and to enhance sustainable social development. However, under the pressure of the employment market and because of the reluctance of some senior faculty in authority, the core courses of the curriculum have been maintained unchanged. Similarly, the instruction modules and teaching styles have not changed much.

The author concludes that the Chinese teacher education needs a thorough reform.

Updated: Apr. 27, 2010