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Teachers’ Interpretations of the Ethical Dimensions of Teaching on the Chinese Mainland: A Case Study of Two Secondary Schools in Shanghai

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This paper highlights Chinese teachers’ ethical concerns in their relationships with students, colleagues, and students’ parents. Through a qualitative study of 26 teachers, it was found that the teachers were often trapped in a dilemma between teaching to students’ real development and teaching to the test. The ethics of professional collaboration were compromised by the dominant norms, including interpersonal harmony and respect for older teachers, and by competition among individual teachers to demonstrate good performance. Moreover, in a situation where parents’ trust was diminishing, teachers assumed certain teaching and caring responsibilities for children from disadvantaged families. It is suggested that the professionalization of teachers should provide them with more professional space to transform their ethical considerations into practice.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Education, East China Normal University ; 2: Department of Educational Administration and Policy, The Chinese University of Hong Kong ; 3: Center for Teacher Education Research, Beijing Normal University


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