Teacher Professionalism and Their Capacity to Deal with Change
Leslie N.K. Lo
(Faculty of Education & Hong Kong Institute of Educational Research，
The Chinese University of Hong Kong,Hong Kong,China）
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to illuminate issues of teacher professionalism in Chinese societies which are undergoing rapid educational change. The UNESCO's "Education for All" endeavor and education reforms in Chinese societies provide a contextual background for discussion. Recent education reform efforts have aimed to enhance individual and national capacities for further development. Quality of education, therefore, has become an increasing important concern. By nature of their work, teachers are expected to support the implementation of reform measures. This paper argues that the requirements of the "information age" and the emergence of "knowledge economy" have led to a new understanding of the necessary attributes of human resources. They have also magnified the inadequacies of schooling in preparing children and youths for work and citizenship. When viewed in the context of education reform, which is in fact a process of induced change, Chinese schools seem to be slow in adapting to reform directives. As professionals who are expected to support reform, teachers' efficacy is suspect. This paper further argues that the major problem presently confronting Chinese teachers rests with their difficulties in dealing with change. Relevant survey findings suggest that the nature of teachers' work and their prime concerns are substantially different from the assumptions and expectations of reformers. Such a gap could hardly be filled by administrative orders, in-service training, or more generous allocation of resources. This paper concludes that comprehensive change of Chinese schooling will have to be accompanied by systemic change in student assessment and selection, as well as the development of a new vision of teacher professionalism that takes the cultural and social dimensions of teachers' work into account.
Key words: Chinese education; education reform; teacher professionalism