New teacher induction in China : a qualitative case study of practice and experience in Yinchuan city through the lens of Western literature and theories and concepts therein
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The importance of designing and delivering comprehensive induction programmes for newly qualified school teachers (e.g. Draper and O’Brien, 2006) is widely accepted. In China, ongoing curriculum reform and teacher professionalization require such programmes to address issues such as teacher turnover, teacher performance and student learning outcomes.This thesis reports on the findings of a PhD project exploring induction of newly qualified teachers in Yinchuan city, China. The project centred on a qualitative case study involving new teachers, mentoring teachers, school principals and local education officials. Against a background review of the relevant induction policies and provision, topic-focussed interviews were conducted in 2009-10 on two separate occasions in their first year of teaching with 23 new secondary school teachers from different subject departments across 7 schools of various type, and with 6 local education officials, and 17 school principals and mentoring teachers. Drawing on an autobiographical approach, personal accounts from the participating teachers were subject to narrative analysis to explore the extent to which teachers’ perspectives changed during the first year of teaching. The conditions under which perspectives were more likely to change were also considered and three main themes emerged: job motivation, self-image and subjective educational theory. Within each of these themes, sub-themes with respect to the relational context in which teachers’ worked were identified as contributing to developing teachers’ professional identity. By using a voice-centred relational analytical method to allow flexibility in taking advantage of different types of narrative analysis methods, the data revealed interesting issues concerning new teachers’ expectations and perceptions of the teaching profession and the induction programme offered. The narratives were further explored based on the theoretical considerations of teacher’s professional identity, early professional learning (McNally, 2004) and various factors influencing teachers’ professional identity (Day and Gu, 2007). This study aims to deepen and further the emerging studies on teacher induction in China which mainly focused on large-size cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, and to identify some of the key characteristics of induction programmes by locating the study in the unique context and essential conditions of Yinchuan city, a medium-size city in China. It also attempts to benefit from a narrative approach and innovative analytical methods which give voice to the participants which hopefully would contribute to a more humanistic approach in looking at the phenomenon of new teacher induction in China.