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Chinese Language Teacher Education

One of the most pressing issues in the teaching of Chinese today is the worldwide shortage of teachers resulting from the major expansion of Chinese teaching (Orton 2011; Orton 2008). At present, the Chinese government provides, with the support of Hanban, large numbers of guest and volunteer teachers through its Confucius Institute networks around the world. Teachers are often recruited through bi-lateral higher education links and native- speakers of Chinese are also recruited locally. New employment opportunities have also opened up for English and ESOL (English as a Second or Other Language) graduates from China who see the world shortage of Chinese teachers as an obvious opportunity for employment (Asia Society 2014). National authorities and universities also seek to build a Chinese teaching profession drawing on their own graduates in Chinese Studies. In some cases, teachers who are qualified in a non-language field seek to re-train as teachers of Chinese. The scale of the challenges to co-ordinate all these different measures to respond to the scale of immediate demands is immense (Duff and Lester 2008; Duff 2008a). Cross-language collaboration at institutional level has much to contribute in devising processes and systems to support the creation of a world-wide Chinese language teaching profession. In the short to medium term, the lack of an adequate number of qualified teachers will threaten the effectiveness of Chinese language teaching.

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