Teacher Education Reform and National Development in China (1978-2017): Four Metaphors


This chapter reviews the history of China’s teacher education over the past four decades (1978–2017). Different from previous work on the same topic, 1 this review explores an important relationship that has been scantly exam- ined in the existing literature: how teacher education has been shaping and is being shaped by the national development discourse. Drawing on policy documents, statistical data, and research literature, this chapter contends that teacher education has played varying roles in supporting China’s na- tional development during different historical periods. Specifically, teacher education has served as a cornerstone for national reconstruction (1978–1992), an engine for boosting economic growth (1992–2004), an equalizer for har- monizing the society (2004–2012), and a window for envisioning a global agenda (since 2012). On the one hand, the national development discourses continually drive the teacher education system to reform its goals, structure, and practices for preparing educators. On the other hand, the development of teacher education in return supports national development.

In James W. Fraser and Lauren Lefty, eds, Teaching the World’s Teachers, pp. 111-131