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Chinese Teachers’ Professional Identity and Beliefs about the Teacher-Student Relationships in an Intercultural Context

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This paper presents a qualitative study of immigrant Chinese teachers’ professional identity and beliefs about the teacher-student relationship in an intercultural context. Theoretically, this study takes its departure from a sociocultural perspective on understanding professional identity. The empirical analysis in the study drew mainly upon ethnographic interviews with a group of Chinese language teachers in Denmark concerning their life experiences, perceptions, and beliefs. The results of this study suggest that teachers’ beliefs about their roles as teachers and about student-teacher relationships are shaped by both their prior experiences and backgrounds and the current social and cultural contexts in which they are situated. Changes of context (e.g., from China to Denmark) often lead to a transformation of their professional identity and beliefs. Being a teacher in an intercultural context often exposes them to the confrontation of diverse challenges and dilemmas. On one hand, teachers in this study generally experienced a transformation from being a moral role model, subject expert, authority and parental role to being a learning facilitator and culture worker. On the other hand, they developed diverse individualized coping strategies to handle student-teacher interactions and other aspects of teachers’ professional identity.

10.3868/s110-003-014-0033-x
/content/journals/10.3868/s110-003-014-0033-x
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/content/journals/10.3868/s110-003-014-0033-x
2014-09-23
2017-09-25

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