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The Chinese Model of Teacher Education: Retrospects and Prospects over a Century

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This article aims at a comprehensive examination of the Chinese model of teacher education by critically revisiting the developmental trajectory of the teacher education system in China over the past century, with a particular focus on policy trends since the 1990s. It interrogates the Chinese model of teacher education with two macro lenses: the historical and the comparative. The historical lens looks deeply into the Chinese way of reform with a catch-up mentality in various stages, while the comparative lens locates the Chinese model of teacher education in an international context. The paper begins with a comprehensive review of the related literature, surveys the historical pathway of China’s modern teacher education system since its birth in 1897, presents an overview of the current provisions of the system, and examines recent policy trends in the landscape of China’s teacher education. Finally, the article concludes that the Chinese model consists of a hybrid system of teacher education provided by normal schools, normal colleges and universities, with the participation of comprehensive universities and internet-based higher education institutions, and accompanied by a consistent licensing system for the teaching profession. With such core features as independence, openness, adaptability and diversity based on Confucian epistemology and pragmatism, the Chinese model of teacher education is likely to illuminate new paths for the development of education and the pursuit of excellence in the global community.


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