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Call for chapters

Teachers’ Continuing Professional Development in Chinese Basic Education: An inspiration to the world?

Eds.: Yongjian Li (RUC, China & University of Helsinki, Finland),

Min Liu (Beijing Normal University, China) &

Fred Dervin (University of Helsinki, Finland)


Deadline for abstracts: 10th January 2018

Volume to be published by Palgrave Macmillan in the Palgrave Studies on Chinese Education in a Global Perspective (Eds. Dervin/Du)

The term Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is defined differently depending on the context in which it is used (Guskey, 2002; Avalos, 2011). According to Villegas-Reimers (2003: 11-12), amongst others, CPD is “a long-term process that includes regular opportunities and experiences planned systematically to promote growth and development in the profession”. Furthermore, effective CPD needs to be “teacher led, linked to pupil learning, grounded in reflection, a sustained cooperative effort and embedded in institutional development” (Schollaert, 2011: 26). In English, the following words are synonymous with continuing professional development: in-service training, in-service education and staff development. In Chinese, the words 教师教育(教师职前培养+教师在职培训) are used.

As Craft (1996: 5) argues, traditionally the need for CPD has often been taken as a matter of voluntary commitment or seen as appropriate for those with career ambitions.

Research about CPD is plentiful in some contexts and the interest in new teachers’ experiences can be traced back already to Fuller’s (1969) classic stage theory, where teacher development is identified through a three-stage model of teacher concerns. This chronological and accumulative stage model consists of self concerns (concerns in relation to survival as teachers), task concerns (performance as teachers) and impact concerns (influence on their pupils). Accordingly, when teachers start their career they are mostly concerned with themselves. They are, in other words, self-oriented as their attention is turned inward. As they become more experienced, they turn their attention outward to instructional techniques and pupils’ progress. There are a number of other teacher development theories including Burden (1982), Burke et al. (1984), Dubble (1998), Katz (1972), Watts (1980). Many of these theories have it that teaching practices and student learning are more likely to be transformed by professional development that is sustained, coherent, and intense (Supovitz, Mayer, & Kahle, 2000; Weiss & Pasley, 2006).

Craft (1996: 168) argues that it is possible to generalise certain stages in the career of the teacher when the meaning of CPD is especially important:

  1. On entry into teaching (induction phase)
  2. On re-entry to teaching after a break (induction phase)
  3. Preparing for increased responsibility (preparation phase)
  4. Shortly after assuming increased responsibility (development phase)
  5. After a substantial number of years in a similar post (review/audit phase).

Since the end of the 1990s, research has defined a new paradigm for CPD – one that rejects the ineffective ‘one-shot’ workshop model of the past in favour of more powerful opportunities (e.g. Stein, Smith, & Silver, 1999). In general, CPD is viewed to be more effective when schools approach it not in isolation but rather as a coherent part of a school effort (Darling-Hammond, 2009). Research on effective CPD also highlights the importance of collaborative and collegial learning environments that help develop communities of practice able to promote school change beyond individual classrooms (Darling-Hammond & McLaughlin, 1995; Perez et al., 2007).

Different kinds of programmes of CPD have been developed: teachers as active participants in their own learning encouraged through reflective practice (cognitivist-constructivist approach, Clarke & Hollingsworth, 2002); experiential learning-based PD (Girvan et al., 2016), Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory (SCT)-based PD (Shabani, 2016), amongst others. Huber (2012: 840-841) presents multiple approaches to learning in CPD in education: courses (external/in-house), self-study (textbooks/software), concrete experiences (simulation/practice), collegial exchange (learning communities/networks), reflection and planning (portfolio), feedback (self-assessment). Systematic evaluation tools of the impact of CPD on teachers are lacking (Huber, ibid.).

This volume is interested in policies, practices and discourses of CPD in Chinese basic education. There are many opportunities for professional development in Chinese schools, and the emphasis on teacher evaluation means that teachers are constantly working to improve their practice. Most of the professional development is embedded in their job (Zhu & Han, 2006).

Since the new curriculum reform of basic education in the 2000s the government policy for CPD focused on the new curriculum (Zhou, 2014). The central and provincial governments conducted national and provincial programmes to train teacher educators first, and these then helped local governments and schools train other teachers across the country (Zhou, ibid.). The main purpose of the new curriculum for teacher training focused on changing the traditional conceptions of teaching to learning new concepts, such as changing from passive to active learning, from the accumulation of prescribed content by memory to solving problems through inquiry and creativity, from isolated learning to collaborative learning. The top-down approach was not always successful and thus new alternative perspectives were developed (Zhou, Ibid.).

Hong Zhu (2010) details such innovative practices in teacher development in China:

– Organizing large-scale mandated teacher training at local and national levels (topics: Aspects of curriculum reform)

– Developing an institutionalized system of school-based research-teaching (topics: self-reflection on teaching practices, problem solving, changing school culture and ethos from teacher-centered to learner-centered)

– Organizing Internet-based Networked Teacher Research and Distance Training (e.g. for rural contexts; see the “China Educational Resources Service Platform” (

It is important to note that most publications on CPD in China published in English are based on theoretical and conceptual frameworks developed in the ‘West’. For example Zhao (2012) uses Habermas’s theory of knowledge and human interest to analyse reflections of teachers who had experienced advanced professional development.

One exception that emerged from China, is Keli (Exemplary Lesson Development), model of CPD in China, implemented within a broader program of Xingdong Jiaoyu行动教育 (Action Education), which has been implemented since 2003 (Huang & Bao, 2006; Gu & Wong, 2003). It is a form of school-based integration of research and learning which aims at updating ideas of teaching /learning, and designing new situations and improving classroom practice (lesson planning, lesson delivery and post-lesson reflection, and lesson-re-delivery). A collaborative group (the Keli group) that consists of teachers and researchers is established through discussion between researchers and a group of interested teachers. A research question, relating to certain challenges arising, is raised and the relevant content area is selected for developing an exemplary lesson through discussion among this Keli group (Huang & Bao, ibid.).


Call for contributions

This book aims to introduce international readers to the topic of CPD in Chinese basic education, and, if possible, to inspire them to think, ‘do’ and problematize CPD in new and different ways.

Prospective authors may be interested in submitting a proposal for any of the following topics concerning CPD in basic education (amongst others):

– policies at local and national levels about CPD in basic education (diachronic-synchronic perspectives);

– CPD in President XI Jinping’s educational ideas;

– Chinese models of CPD;

– Current trends in Chinese CPD curricula;

– The different actors of CPD in China;

– effectiveness of CPD initiatives (evaluation);

– Concrete and long-term impact of CPD;

– Exporting Chinese CPD (e.g. in the Belt Silk Road);

– teacher satisfaction over CPD;

– use of ICT for CPD;

– Interactions between initial teacher education and CPD;

– Chinese theoretical and methodological issues in CPD;

– CPD from an interdisciplinary perspective;

– Chinese teachers’ CPD abroad;

– CPD and minority/migrant/intercultural education in China;

– CPD and social justice/equity;

– CPD and teachers’ well-being;

– the future of CPD in China.



Abstract of proposed chapter (300 words): 10 January 2018

Full chapters to be submitted: 1 May 2018

Authors are invited to submit a 300-word proposal (including a few lines about the author(s)) in English to the editors (,

– please no pdf! Word editable version please!

The proposals should clearly explain the theoretical positioning and concerns of the proposed chapter, and include a short description of data (where applicable). A basic bibliography may also be added.

Prospective authors should note that only original and previously unpublished articles will be considered.

All article submissions of 5,500 to 8,000 words will be forwarded to 2 members of the volume scientific committee. Final decision regarding acceptance/revision/rejection will be based on the reviews received from the reviewers.