Towards a New Intercultural Methodology in Response to Teachers’ Challenges from the New Curriculum Innovation in China

  • Author / Creator
    Wu, Wenhua
  • The new English Curriculum Standard reform in China is based on Western curriculum theories with an emphasis on a student-centered, communication-oriented, and activities-based approach to teaching rather than on the traditional Confucian heritage culture with the emphasis on a teacher-centered, knowledge-oriented, and textbook-based instruction. The ideas underlying the top-down curriculum change represent important cultural shifts from a transmission model of education to an experiential model. These shifts challenge traditional practice with respect to the notion of education, teaching and learning, the role of teachers and learners, and textbooks, and pose drastic changes for teachers.
    The study adopts the notion of the third space to investigate teachers’ challenges in implementing the new curriculum change. The main focus is on the tension brought about by shifts in the concept of teaching and learning, teachers’ identities and their understandings of their roles as teachers within the new curriculum framework. This is understood within the context of the tension between the planned curriculum and the lived curriculum, as well as the tension between Western curriculum theories and those based on China’s Confucian heritage culture.

    Drawing on data collected from classroom observations, and in-depth interviews with three teachers, the study reveals the teachers’ adjustments towards the student-centered teaching methods, the communication-oriented textbooks, the democratic relationship between the students and teachers, and the teachers’ new identity. It draws on the third space but also focuses on need for something new that is specific to English language teaching in China. The findings point to the importance of balance between learning that is both active and receptive without being passive. The study suggests the need for an intercultural pedagogy grounded in understandings of Taoist philosophy and yin to counterbalance yang. It discusses teacher identity and undertakes an examination of particular issues related to this new hybrid way. Finally, the study considers resistance and change among curriculum, pedagogy and methodology in order to explore an intercultural dialogue that draws on both Eastern and Western ideas and shows resonances between East and West, rather than seeing them as polar opposites.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2013
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Guo, Shibao (Faculty of Education)
    • Skogen, Rochelle (Campus Saint-Jean)
    • Eppert, Claudia (Secondary Education)
    • Wu, Joe (Elementary Education)