Higher Education in Post-Mao China

By Michael Agelasto; Bob Adamson | Go to book overview

8
Modernizing English Language Teacher Education 1

Bob ADAMSON


INTRODUCTION

This chapter examines the consequences of the Dengist educational reforms for English language pre-service teacher education. It focuses on contentious topics (viz., that the English language embodies foreign influence) and on key aspects of modernization -- teacher education plays an important role both in upgrading the quality of teaching and in supplying sufficient personnel to support the expansion of basic education. The central theme of the chapter is a case study of a teacher education college from the initiation of reforms in the late 1970s. It charts changes in the English language curriculum and discusses related issues, such as staff development and deployment, as the college grappled with the problems of implementing the reforms.

In the past two centuries, the status of English in China has shifted from that of a scorned pariah to one of high prestige today. In the early days of the Canton settlements only the despised 'linguists', social outcasts to a man, were permitted to learn the barbarians' tongue. 2 In contrast, English is nowadays a prerequisite for both academic development and, as it would appear from the growing numbers of competent English speakers among top-ranking leaders in the CCP, political advancement. 3 The increasing globalization of English in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries means that English now

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