2022essay网站留学生教育学ESSAY范文三篇范例：Primary Education in China
1.1 IntroductionSince the implement of reform and opening-up policy in 1980s, Primary Education in China has been making great progress in every respect. One of them, professionalization of primary-school teachers, ESSAY范文will be examined in terms of local level in this study, with the purpose of exploring the actors and factors that promote or inhibit the development of this occupational group. My hometown, Jiangyin, which is in Jiangsu Province will be studied.
1.2 Background of the study1.2.1 An overview to the Primary Education in ChinaThe development of primary education in so vast a country as China has been a formidable accomplishment. In contrast to the 20 percent enrollment rate before 1949, in 1998 about 98.9% of primary school age children were enrolled in approximately 609,600 primary schools(Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, 2004).Under the Law on Nine-Year Compulsory Education, primary schools are tuition-free and reasonably located for the convenience of children attending them; students would attend primary schools in their neighborhoods or villages. Parents pay a small fee per term for books and other expenses such as transportation, food, and heating. Children usually entered primary school at seven years of age for six days a week, which after regulatory changes in 1995 and 1997 were changed to five and a half and five days, respectively. The two-semester school year consists of 9.5 months, and begins on September 1st and March 1st, with a summer vacation in July and August and a winter vacation in January and February. Primary schools usually divide the
school week into twenty-four to twenty-seven classes of forty-five minutes each. Most primary schools have a six-year course.
1.2.2 An introduction to the primary-school teachers in China
In Chinese traditional culture, education is always in the first place of activities of families and society. Teachers are respected by the entire society because people think that what teachers do critically affect the lives and prospects of a nation’s future generation, as well as the general welfare of a country. Accordingly, September 10th was designated Teachers’ Day in 1985, the first festival day for any profession and indicative of government efforts to raise the social status and living standards of teachers.
Primary education lays the foundation for people’s pursuit of further learning and fulfillment of their potential. So the primary-school teachers in China are expected to be more and more professional to be capable of dealing with the daily educational activities and also enormous changes that have been taking place in the present knowledge and information society.
To achieve that, China’s government did a lot of work. For instance, to improve the quality of teaching, the government has started the Nationwide Program of Network for Education of Teachers. Its aims are: to modernize teachers’ education through educational information, providing support and services for lifelong learning through the teachers’ education network, TV satellite network, and the Internet; to greatly improve the teaching quality of elementary and high school faculty through large-scale, high-quality and high-efficiency training and continuous education.#p#分页标题#e#
At present, China has altogether 6.12 million primary school teachers with 65% of them in countryside (National Bureau of Statistics of China, 2007). The qualification
and professionalism of this huge group will directly influence the overall quality of Chinese fundamental education as well as the future national quality.
1.3 Statement of the problemAmong the most pressing problems facing education reformers is the scarcity of qualified teachers, which has led to a serious stunting of educational development. In 1986 there were about 8 million primary- and middle-school teachers in China, but many lacked professional training. Estimates indicated that in order to meet the goals of the Seventh Five-Year Plan (Five-Year Plan is made by the government to establish the foundations and principles of Chinese communism, map strategies for economic development, set growth targets, and launch reforms), and realized compulsory 9-year education, the system needed one million new teachers for primary schools, 750,000 new teachers for junior middle schools, and 300,000 new teachers for senior middle schools. Estimates predicted, however, that the demand for teachers would drop in the late 1990s because of an anticipated decrease in primary-school enrollments.
It did happen, however, the demand for the high-quality of the teachers has increased in the beginning of 21st century. Only a small part of teachers in China get higher educational background such as master degree and better trainings and usually they work in urban primary schools. So China still needs more high-professional primary teachers throughout the country, including urban and rural area..
In addition, urban teachers seem more professional comparing to the rural ones. They continue to earn more than their rural counterparts and because academic standards in the countryside have dropped, it remains difficult to recruit teachers for rural areas. Even in the western part of China, teachers in rural areas also have production responsibilities for their plots of land, which take time from their teaching. Rural primary teachers need to supplement their pay by farming because most are paid by the relatively poor local communities rather than by the state.
1.4 Objectives of the study and research questionsThe main purposes of this study are to obtain a clear understanding of the characteristics of primary teaching occupation in China and to examine the development of this occupational group. Accordingly, the overall general objective of this study is:— to examine the actors and factors that promote or inhibit professionalization of government primary-school teachers in China.In order to achieve the stated objective of the study and also to arrive at a clear understanding of the problem, the overall research question is: what actors and factors are involved and how they impact on the professionalization of primary teaching as an occupation in China? The specific research questions are:#p#分页标题#e#1. How has the primary teaching,as an occupation, taken shape historically?2. What is the role of the state – how it influences vocational activities of primary-school teachers, especially in terms of controlling over recruitment, certification and standard of practice.3. What is the role of primary teachers themselves, in terms of their capacity to take collective action, the development of union and the extent to which they are organized?4. What is the role of training institutes in providing training for the primary teachers that will uphold the basic knowledge and skills hence their effectiveness and vocational status?
5. What is the role of users in relation to their trust and confidence in primary teachers’ vocational knowledge/skill and their ability to work as members of a professionalized occupation?
1.5 Significance of the studyThis study is conducted to find out how the main four actors affect professionalization of primary-school teachers in China, where only a few earlier researches could be found to analyse this professional process. Therefore, exploring this professionalization on the local level in China would contribute to addressing the problem in local primary schools’ educational activities and improving the professional level of this occupation and also be helpful to other scholars who would conduct similar studies in this area.
1.6 Scope of the studyIt is well known that China is the country with the largest population, and doing a nationwide investigation and research is so huge and complex that I would not choose it for my research. So I have to narrow down my study and just historically focus the professionalization of primary-school teachers on the local level. Jiangyin, as a small city in Jiangsu Province, is selected for the study to illustrate the occupational development of primary teaching on the local level.According to the actor-based model , the study focus on the four main actors : state, training institution, practicing professionals and users. And these actors in the study are very closely related to the activities of primary schools in Jiangyin.In addition, China is the biggest socialist state and accordingly most of the primary schools are public and managed by the state. Therefore, the primary schools and teachers being studied in the study are state-run.
In the analysis of how the four actors effect the process of professionalization of primary teaching occupation, I focus on the interactions of these four actors.
1.7 Limitation of the studyIn the study, I select four primary schools in Jiangyin, and the four actors related to these primary schools’ educational activities basically function in the implement process of the education policies, not like others such as formulation of the policies. Therefore, the analysis and findings are limited within the implement process.
The relative lack of documents about school history and development is unavoidable because of the nonstandard and inefficient administration system of school early in 1980s. And the development of primary teaching occupation that is studied is from 1980 to 2008, that is the limitation of time.#p#分页标题#e#
Additionally, interview is important for this small-sized study. Although I design four types of questionnaire and also plan to cross-check the information, there are inevitable weakness caused by the misunderstanding of the people interviewed.
1.8 Organization of the StudyThe thesis is separated into six chapters. Background, research problem statement, significance, scope, limitation and organization, aims and research questions related the study have been provided in the Chapter one: Introduction;The following chapter, Chapter two: conceptual framework, reviews the existing theories related to the development of primary teaching occupation and define the
concept of profession and professionalization in the context of China. It also discuss the the actor-based framework which would be employed in the study.Chapter three: methodology of the study, It outlines and justifies why the qualitative approach and case study would be used in this study, moreover, it indicates the data collection method and the problem I would face with in the process of collection.
Chapter four:the historical perspective of professionalization of primary-school teachers in Jiangyin The chapter provides the presentation of historical development of primary teaching occupation in the period I have studied.
Chapter Five: analysis and findings. With analysis and findings, this chapter examines the role of the state, the teaching training, the teachers’ vocational union and users respectively in the professionalization process of primary-school teachers.
Chapter six: conclusion and recommendations. It offers the conclusions and suggestions for improvement of the professionalization of primary teaching occupation.CHAPTER TWOTHEORETICAL FRAMEWORK
Profession and professionalizationIn order to analyse the professionalization of primary-school teachers in China, it is necessary to figure out the definition of profession and professionalization regarding to the teaching occupation in the context of China first.
The term “profession” has been debated in the perspective of sociology and the criteria which differentiate profession from other occupations have been strongly contested. Therefore, regarding how the concept of profession should be defined, scholars have not achieved the agreement. Referring to the literature, two major approaches can be distinguished in the study of professions: one tries to characterize different occupational groups and their particular roles in the society, while the other concentrates on the process through which an occupational group becomes a profession. It is important to be aware of that in any analysis of the professionalization or of the characteristics and professional development of an occupation the researcher must have a clear idea of what constitutes a profession and what are its essential elements. Although these matters have been intensively debated and frequently disagreed among scholars, Kocka provided a definition of profession from sociological point of view that may be workable for this study. His suggestion is as follows:#p#分页标题#e#
Profession means a largely non-manual, full time occupation whose practice presupposes specialized, systematic and scholarly training…. Access depends upon passing certain examinations, which entitle to titles and diplomas, thereby sanctioning its role in the division of labour….[Professions] tend to demand a monopoly of services as well as freedom from control by others such as layman, the state, etc….Based upon competence, professional ethics and the special importance of their work for society and common weal, the professions claims specific material rewards and higher social prestige.(Kocka, 1985 quoted in Burrage ＆ Torstendahl, 1990:205)
The definition distinguishes clearly between characteristics that describe professional occupations and the demands and claims that they make, and provide clear criteria for recognizing both. Moreover, it provides criteria that can be operationalized and measured (Burrage et al, 1990).
S.M. Abdul Quddus also discussed Kocka’s definition of profession in his dissertation “The unfeasibility of professionalization of primary-school teachers in Bangladesh” and he pointed out that Kocka’s definition of profession reflects the Anglo-American and to some extent the continental European attributes (Burrage et al, 1990). What he thought was that it was necessary to realize that the Western definition of profession had its own blind side and limitation. So when it was adopted to the particular context of a developing country such as his country Bangladesh, he needed to avoid distortion of the specific reality, and modify the definition in accordance with the context.
Therefore, profession in the Bangladesh context, according to his own understanding, was somewhat similar to Kocka’s suggested definition, with some small modifications. For him, the term “profession” referred to a full-time, non-manual occupation with substantial honor, rewards and social prestige on the position holder, as well as access to authority and power. Moreover, practice of a profession presupposes specialized and scholarly training and competence, and a particular code of ethic such as altruism. Access to a profession depends upon acquisition of a specific degree or diploma. Moreover, a profession tends to demand a monopoly of services provided, as well as freedom from control by others such as the state.
This definition of profession combines the western literature regarding profession with the context of developing country, that is also meaningful for my similar study in China, which is also a developing country. That is why this definition from Quddus is adopted in my study.
The term “professionalization” is also defined in various ways in sociological research and analysis. Quddus discussed three main ways in his dissertation.
The first way is from Erichsen. He thinks professionalization is to some extent “a process of occupational change” and it has two distinct characteristics: occupational struggles for control over practice, and the conditions and content of occupational activities(Erichsen, 1990:30).#p#分页标题#e#
The second way is focusing on the efforts of professional organizations to control the entry, certification and practice of s specific occupation; membership. Quddus took Theodore Caplow’s explanation of professionalization for an example:
Professions begin with the establishment of professional associations that have explicit membership rules to exclude the unqualified. Second, they change their names, in order to lose their past, to assert their monopoly and most importantly, to give themselves a level capable of legislative restriction. Third, they set up a code of ethics to assert their social utility. To further regulate the incompetence, and to reduce internal competition. Forth, they agitate politically to obtain legal recognition, aiming at first to limit the profession title and later to criminalize unlicensed work in their jurisdiction(Caplow, 1954:139-40 and quoted in Abbott, 1988:11).
Quddus also pointed out that there are clear sequences of functions acquired in the professionalization process in this analysis.
The third way views professionalization as a process of essential attributes. For instance, Hoyle’s(1985) defines professionalization as a process whereby an occupation meets the criteria attributed to a profession: (i) a body of knowledge, (ii) exclusiveness, (iii) lengthy training, (iv) control over practice or autonomy, and (v) a code of ethics etc, in other words, professionalization is viewed as a process whereby occupations have become, or seek to become a profession that is recognized publicly, in accordance with the degree to which they meet the alleged criteria. Erichsen has mentioned that scholarly writings , mainly in the 50s and 60s(e.g. Wilensky, 1964, Vollmer and Mills, 1966, Greenwood, 1957), have defined the notion of professionalization as a rout through which an occupation passes different stages in order to be qualified as profession (Erichsen, 1990:28).
The above-mentioned discussion implies that the process of professionalization is also a multi-route project and that the term has been the subject of intense debate and frequent disagreement. However, scholars (e.g. Clark, 1990; Burrage et al. 1990) have identified the following mechanisms to ensure or guarantee professionalization:
State recognition and delegation of power, which gives the profession a high degree of autonomy and some legal mechanisms to enforce its monopoly over the provision of its service and the use of its title;
Commitment to practicing a body of knowledge and skill of special value that are the result of specialized, systematic and scholarly training; and to maintain a fiduciary relationship with clients;
Specific material rewards and higher social prestige and recognition, which mean that the professionals have a high degree of motivation based on an idea of altruistic service rather than pursuit of material and economic gain;
Professional organization as a means of exercising control over recruitment, training, certification and standards of practice; and over access to basic occupation resources.#p#分页标题#e#
Professionalization of teaching occupationThe concept of professionalization has two different meanings when used with reference to teaching(Helsby, 1995 quoted in Hargreaves, 2000). Firstly, it refers to the quality of what professionals’ do, their conduct and outward behaviour, and the standard which guide this(Englund, 1996). Some scholars call this professionalism since it means improving the quality and standards of practice. Secondly, it relates to status and standing of professionals; to how teachers feel they are viewed by the general public in relation to their status, standing, regard and level of professional rewards. In this second meaning, professionalization implies improving status and standing. Hargreaves argues that these two concepts are often presented as supplementary projects(improved standards will lead to improved status), but in teaching “stronger professionalization does not always mean greater professionalism” (Hargreaves, 2000:152).
Erichsen(1990) and Helsby(1995) both recognize professionalization as a process of occupational change or a number of stages through which an occupation passes en route to qualification as profession. For instance, according to Helsby(1995), in the specific context of teaching ,what it means to be “professional”—professionalization, involves to two things: (i) improving quality and standard of practice(some scholars, e.g. Englund(1996), call it professionalism); and (ii) improving status, regard, rewards, etc(some scholars, e.g. Hargreaves(2000), call it professionalization).
The definitions from these two scholars are complementary and provide a workable framework for the study of professionalization of primary-school teachers in China.
Therefore, in this study the term “professionalization” is used to refer to the occupation of teaching as a process of occupational change that denotes the enhancement of both standard and quality of practice, as well as the status and level of vocational rewards, as emphasized by Helsby(1995).
Actors that characterize the professionalization of teaching occupation
While professionalization refers to a process, there are five main models regarding to the teaching occupation.
The first one is the trait model. This model’s “claims for professional status are themselves the major conditions for professionalization”(Johnson, 1972:31). Wilensky(1964:142-6) suggested the following stages of professionalization in the American context: the emergence of a full-time occupation; the establishment of a training school; the founding of professional association; political agitation directed toward the protection of the association by law; and the adoption of a formal code.
The second one is functionalist model which focus on functions in defining the concept of professionalization of an occupation. Barber (1963) clearly acknowledge the role of specific groups or organizations in the professionalization process and he pointed out four essential attributes in defining professional behaviour: a high degree of generalized and systematic knowledge; primary orientation to the community interest rather than to individual self-interest; a high degree of practitioners’ self-control through a code of ethics imposed by an association and s system of rewards(monetary and honorary). Judges indicated that at least three actors in the professionalization can be deduced inBarber’s analysis: an academic/training institution will provide professionals with a high standard skill and systematic#p#分页标题#e#knowledge; a professional association will impose a code of ethics in order to maintain the standard in professional activities and the users of professional services will recognize professionals by giving them rewards as symbol of their work achievement and importance.
The third one is the structure model which ,for example, like Wilensky’s(1964) analysis focused mainly on understanding professionalization as structures rather than specific actors. Even so, there are still some actors implied in his analysis, these are training institution, the professional association and the state.
The forth one is the monopoly model which views the professionalization as an external social process. From the perspective of this model, the professionals and the professional associations, the state and the user are the important actors.
The last one is called the cultural model which mainly based on Friedson’s concept of professionalism and professionalization. It consisits of some interdependent elements(Friedson, 2001:127-8):.specialized professional work derived form a theoretically based, discretionary knowledge and skills;.exclusive jurisdiction in a particular division of labour;.a sheltered position in both external and internal labour markets based on qualifying credential imposed and created by the occupation;.a formal training programme associated with an institution of higher education that produces the qualifying credentials;.an ideology of altruism guided by commitment to doing a good job, i.e. high quality;.the support of the state in order to defend labour market shelter against other competitive groups, adjudicate jurisdictional disputes within the occupation, give
credence to the professional ideology, and create and maintain the general educational system which provides the foundation for professional schooling,etc.
Therefore, these actors identified by his concept of professionalization are: the higher academic/training institutions, professionals themselves(professional organizations), and the state.
The actor-based framework The “actor-based” model which is suggested by Burrage et al (1990) has been selected as the theoretical framework for the study of the primary teaching occupation, in order to achieve the objectives of this study,. The question to be addressed is whether this framework contributes to our understanding and interpretation of the characteristics of the primary teaching occupation and its development in the context of a developing country.
In the original theoretical model, four main actors are identified (state, training institution, professional organization and user) ,they are considered to determine the form and success or failure of the professionalization of an occupation. According to Burrage et al, these four actors are crucial, being actively engaged in the struggle of occupations to establish themselves as professions. Moreover, these actors are considered useful in exploring the critical stages of development of professions as well as occupation which, according to many criteria, do not exactly fit what scholars call professions (ibid.P.207). The “actor-based framework” was critical for this study because it facilitated the analysis of professionalization of occupations and general theory of professions on the basis of the role played by a limited group of actors. The issues of this study fit with their framework because the aim was to examine the development of primary teachers as an occupational group in the context of China,#p#分页标题#e#
focusing on the extent to which they emerge as a distinct, publicly recognized occupation that has controlled their own work situation. The actor-based framework would help me to explain how different actors act and why they act in a particular way in relation to the primary teaching occupation in China. It also would help me to understand how different actors involved inhibit the professionalization of primary teaching in China.
The four basic interacting actors that according to Burrage et al (1990) determine the success or failure of professionalization of an occupation are as follows:
The state, according to Burrage et al, is the key actor in the process of professionalization of occupational groups, being both the regulator of the practitioners’ lives and the instrument of their vocational advancement.
Training institutes, for Burrage et al, are another significant actor in the process of professionalization. This particular category of actor has jurisdiction over a fundamental resource: the knowledge on which a particular profession/occupation depends. Moreover, the status of an occupation depends on the degrees which they provide this knowledge.
Practicing professionals, according to Burrage et al, are key actors in their own vocational development. For them, there are different types of vocational organizations based on, for example, activities related to interests/knowledge, lobbying, trade unions and regulatory bodies. In order to protect and enhance their vocational interests and ensure their monopoly, as well as to maintain their vocational autonomy, practitioners use their vocational organization, ideology, resources, etc (Burrage et al, 1990).
ESSAY范文Users of vocational services, in the view of Burrage et al (1990), are an integral part of professionalization project because in most cases they are “fee-for-service” clients and are the ideal users of vocational services. Users can use their resources-e.g. fees, publicity, legal and penal sanction,etc – to reward or control the vocational standard of the individual members of the profession/occupation.
More specifically, in this study, when i explore the role of the state in the professionalization of primary teaching in the local level of China, emphasis will be placed upon the role of governing elites and how their activities affect the current situation of primary-school teachers educational work.
Freidson has identified four features of profession type training: curriculum, knowledge control, occupational solidarity and professionals’ status. Therefore, these four features will selected as criterion of the training institutes in my analysis.
And regarding to the practicing professionals, emphasis will be placed upon the organizational factors which could determine the existence of primary teachers union and whether this teachers’ association in China is a qualifying association or not. And the autonomy of the association will also be examined.#p#分页标题#e#
Regarding to the users of this profession, emphasis will be placed upon the users’ trust and confidence in primary teaching service.
CHAPTER-THREEMethodologyResearch approachAfter reading some literature about how to do social science research, there are mainly two options for me to choose: the qualitative and the quantitative research approach. According to Creswell(1994), the quantitative research approach, which uses statistical procedures to analyse and test a theory by measuring variables in the form of numbers, while a qualitative study would have as its aim to understand/interpret a specific social or human problem, to build a holistic image, and to report the views of informants in detail; and would be conducted in a natural setting.With consideration and comparison, I decide to adopt the qualitative research approach in my study. In my opinion, the problem addressed in this study is socially complex and the qualitative approach is considered as the best suited option for since the development of social events or situations; otherwise, the quantitative approach is not considered suitable since it fails to come to grips with the problem, trying instead to analyse it in terms of variables and their interrelations.Case studyThe case study method will also be employed in this inquiry to examine the role of actors in the professionalization of primary school teachers. Feagin et al. (1991) define a case study as “an in-depth, multifaceted investigation, using a qualitative research method”, and Yin gives more specific definition of “a case study”(Yin. 2002: 13-14):1. “A case study is an empirical inquiry that investigating a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident.”2. “The case study inquiry copes with the technically distinctive situation in which there will be many more variables of interest than data points, and as one result relies on multiple sources of evidence, with data needing to converge in a triangulating fashion, and as another result benefits from the prior development of theoretical propositions to guide data collection and analysis”.Because of these characteristics of “a case study” and the context of China, I will employ the case study in my research. I think that the case study research design is specific, contextual and particularistic enough in nature to investigate and analyse the professionalization of the primary teachers in the real-life context of China, and I also think that using the case study can describe the development of the occupation of the primary teachers correctly, and also account for how the actors and factors affect the development in a history context.Units of AnalysisAfter collecting data for your study, it is important to make good analysis of it. I will present the primary school teachers’ vocational development related to the historical context, during the period of 1980-2008. And I will try to find out whether the primary teaching have emerged as an autonomous occupation or not, and also whether the primary teachers lack professional identity or not.#p#分页标题#e#I will focus on the State and the primary teaching occupation and try to find out how the State have some influence upon the process of professionalization of government primary school teachers. I plan to examine the State, especially local level,
in terms of its very characteristics on the basis of the contemporary situation in China and the contemporary elites and their backgrounds. In addition, I will analyse the vocational development and status of primary school teachers, focusing on the national human resource development policies, the role of teachers’ influence in the formulation and implementation of primary education policy, policies guiding teachers ‘career prospects and their mobility, rewards, and induction.
Method/Tools of Data CollectionAfter employing the case study method, there are various methods of data collection can be used. Yin indicates that “Evidence for case studies may come from six sources: documents, archival records, interviews, direct observation, participant-observation, and physical artifacts” (Yin. 2002:83). In my research, I will collect my data from the documents and interviews, specifically documents issued by the official government departments such as Ministry of Education of China, the local authorities; interviews with people involved in school activities, for instance, teachers in selected school, bureaucrats in charge of education management and teachers’ vocational activities, the leaders of teachers’ vocational unions, and the users of teachers’ vocational services.
Validity and Reliability In my research, I think the most important factor, which would affect the validity and reliability of the evidence, is that the respondents would distort the truth. During the interviews the truth sometimes is ESSAY范文possible to be distorted or simply misrepresented. And the distortion of the truth is a problem in relation to not only discussions with individual respondents, but also to the reliability and adequacy of government statistics about primary education in general and teachers in particular. It is necessary to collect detailed independent study reports to verify such facts.