Chinese TEFL teachers’ perceptions about research and influences on their research endeavours

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Bai, l, Milwater, J & Hudson, P 2014, 'Chinese TEFL teachers’ perceptions about research and influences on their research endeavours', Teacher Development, vol. 18, no. 3, pp. 349-368.

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English has always occupied a key position in China’s education. The quality of English education depends largely on the quality of the English teaching force. Improving the overall quality of Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) teachers entails advancing both their teaching and research competence. This study, with its focus on Chinese TEFL teachers working in a higher education institution, was set up in a context where Chinese higher education colleges are being transformed into universities and research is becoming a crucial aspect of all teachers’ work. This small-scale case study investigated a group of Chinese TEFL teachers’ perceptions about research and their individual and workplace characteristics that influenced their research endeavours. The findings revealed that Chinese TEFL teachers recognised the significance of research for teaching, professional growth and career advancement. However, lack of individual characteristics such as research and disciplinary knowledge, confidence in research and intrinsic motivation impeded their research efforts. Their institution and departments seemed to encourage research; yet, more specific financial and academic support to start and sustain their research endeavours is required. This study’s findings provide implications for both individual teachers and their institutions to engage TEFL teachers more actively in research.

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