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Reconstructing the Foreign Teacher: The Nativization of David Crook in Beijing

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This paper is a critical examination of the life and work of David Crook (1910–2000) as an English teacher in China from just prior to 1949 through the 1980’s. It describes Crook’s struggle to transcend attitudes of superiority commonly associated with native speaking English teachers at the time as well as his efforts to introduce innovations in English language teaching that were appropriate for the circumstances in China. The article concludes that an understanding of Edward Said’s notion of intellectual exile can assist in understanding Crook’s success at adjusting to a challenging social, political and educational environment in China and transcending the dichotomies separating native and non-native speaking teachers as well as Chinese and non-Chinese teachers.

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