TENSION AND ALTERNATIVE OF IN-SERVICE SECONDARY MATHEMATICS TEACHER PROFESSION DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

 
TENSION AND ALTERNATIVE OF IN-SERVICE SECONDARY
   MATHEMATICS TEACHER PROFESSION DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

                                       Rongjin Huang
                                  University of Macau, China

Abstract. It was found that there is a coherent teacher-development system in China. Future
teachers have strong subject matter preparation and are immersed in observation of experienced
teachers. Once teachers are hired, they enter a system of continuous professional development in
school by master teacher. A career ladder provides salary incentives based on demanding
standards (Stewart, 2006). In this paper, we first discuss how “with strong subject matter
preparation” and “supported by a school-based teaching/research activity system”, the
“mentorship” teacher induction system does work smoothly (Ma, 1999; Paine, 2002) before
implementation of mathematics curriculum reform. Then, we describe some measures to
develop in-service teachers’ profession in order to tackle new challenges. Finally, we will
discuss advantages and difficulties of teachers’ learning in the community of practice.

                                         Background

      China’s impressive economic performance over the past twenty years is well known around
the world. The achievement attained at the basic education, especially in mathematics has also
aroused the interest of international communities and research. For example, Asia Society and
the Council of Chief State School Offices led a delegation of K–12 education and business
leaders to China in late September 2005. Through meeting Chinese students, teachers, principals,
researchers, and senior government officials at different levels (from Kindergarten to University)
and different places (such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shaanxi province), a research report by the
group, Education in China: Lessons for U.S. Educators, described a coherent teacher-
development system in China (Stewart, 2006) such as teachers have made strong subject matter
preparation and been immersed in observation of experienced teachers, and they enter a system
of continuous professional development in school by master teacher once recruitment. Moreover,
an emphasis on mathematics and science in China has been demonstrated in the following ways:
clear national standards and textbooks that focus on mastery of a few fundamental concepts;
strong subject-matter preparation and professional development for teachers; use of specialized
math and science teachers as early as the 1st grade; and strong (some say excessive) societal
emphasis on math and science. Regarding mathematics education, a number of studies have
shown that Chinese students outperformed their counterparts in the Western countries in both
comparative mathematics achievements studies and at the International Mathematical Olympiad
(Stevenson et al., 1990; Lapoite, Mead, & Askew, 1992; Stevenson & Stigler, 1992; Wong,
1998). However, many Western researchers have found that the learning environment in China
did not seem conducive to “good learning”. For example, with regard to teaching method, it was
described as “passive transmission” and “rote drilling” (Biggs & Watkins, 2001). Recently, some
studies have showed that the mathematics lessons in China are high coherent and there are some
student-centered elements such as eliciting students’ opinions and valuing the students’ the

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contribution to the knowledge generation, although the teaching is strictly controlled by teachers
(Huang & Leung, 2004, 2005; Lee, 1998; MOK,2003). It seems that Chinese mathematics
teachers are able to make some differences within large size classrooms. What are the
characteristics of professional development in Mainland China? How do the Chinese
mathematics teachers develop their professional career? Ma (1999) found that Chinese
elementary teachers normally received 10 to 12 years of formal schooling including teacher
training while US teachers received 16 to 18 years of schooling. However, the Chinese
mathematics teachers were better equipped with knowledge of mathematics as a subject and
were able to use more effective methods to teach it. The Chinese mathematics teachers
emphasized the understanding of concepts from multiple perspectives, while the American
teachers paid great attention to the procedural knowledge. She explained that the Chinese
mathematics teachers develop a profound understanding of fundamental mathematics through
learning from colleagues, learning from students, and learning from study of teaching reference
materials and learning by doing problems solving. Li (2004) further convinced that it is an
effective way of professional development of elementary mathematics teacher to study teaching
materials in depth. Through comparing the pedagogical content knowledge of mathematics in
U.S. and Chinese at middle schools, An et al (2004) found that mathematics teachers’
pedagogical content knowledge in the two countries differs markedly, which has a deep impact
on teaching practice. The Chinese teachers emphasized developing procedural and conceptual
knowledge through reliance on traditional, more rigid practices, which have proven their value
for teaching mathematics content. The United States teachers emphasized a variety of activities
designed to promote creativity and inquiry in attempting to develop students’ understanding of
mathematical concepts. Both approaches have benefits and limitations. It was suggested the
practices of teachers in each country may be partially adapted to help to overcome deficiencies in
the other.
      With the release of mathematics curriculum standards for elementary and junior schools
(Department of Education, 2001) and mathematics curriculum standards for senior high schools
(Department of Education, 2003), teachers from elementary schools and secondary schools have
suffered from many challenges. Heavily influenced by constructivism and the US mathematics
standards (NCTM, 2000), the new curriculum standards in Mainland China advocate an
innovative learning method through manipulation, collaborative communication, exploration
independently, and also adopt a dynamic and experimental mathematics perspective so that
mathematics is regarded as a creative activity, and making conjecture, experiment, justification
and refutation, inspection and improvement are parts of mathematical activity. Thus, even expert
teachers who are apt at the teacher-dominated teaching method do not know how to organize an
effective lesson. Based on relevant literature review, policies and programs analysis, the paper
tends to capture features of the mathematics in-service teacher professional development and the
challenges to tackle currently. First, a brief background of pre-service mathematics teacher
preparation will be described. Second, the policy and mechanism of in-service teacher profession
development will be introduced. Then, the third part will focus on the innovative in-service
teachers training programs after implementing the new curriculums. Finally, the characteristics,
problems and further actions of mathematics teacher education in Mainland China will be
discussed.

          Preparing Teacher with Strong Mathematics Content Knowledge

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A Brief History of Pre-service Mathematics Teacher Preparation
      Due to historical reason, since the establishment of Peoples’ Republic of China in 1949,
Mainland China has learnt from Soviet Russia entirely, including education system. Thus,
mathematics teacher education has been heavily influenced by Russian mathematics philosophy
and mathematics curriculum, and pedagogy of mathematics till today (Zhang & Wang, 2000).
These influences on the evolution of mathematics education in Mainland China mainly are
reflected in the following aspects: (1) regarding mathematics as an abstract, rigor, and wide
application subject as suggested by Aleksandrov et al (1964). Thus, logical deduction, formal
mathematical operation have been emphasized in mathematics education till now; (2) the aim of
education is “to transmit the most stable knowledge accumulated over thousands of years” to
young generations advocated by Russian Educationalist Kailofu (1951). It is quite in line with
Chinese notion of teaching “to transmit, instruct, and disabuse”(师说,师者,所以传道受业解
惑也). Thus, teacher-centered and whole classroom lecture has become a dominant teaching
model at primary and secondary schools in Mainland China;(3) Providing a strong mathematics
contents knowledge and studying on primary mathematics are necessary for prospective teachers.
      In 1950s, there were three compulsory advanced mathematics courses (Called as “Old
Three Advances”), advanced algebra, analytical geometry and Mathematical analysis which are
quite difficult for the freshman who have not learnt primary calculus at secondary school,
particularly in learning ε − δ definition of limit. However, through learning these three
advanced mathematics courses, the students were trained in rigorous logical reasoning and
mathematical literary which lay a sound foundation of mathematics for their future as secondary
mathematics teacher. In 1960s, the mathematics courses were extended to include some pure
mathematics courses such as functional analysis, abstract algebra, and applied mathematics
course such as Probability and statistic, Mathematical equation, Operation research,
Computation method. Thus, it is a key advancement of mathematics education in Normal
University and has shaped the direction of further development. However, Mainland China has
been suffered from two disasters of education, “The Great Leap Forward” (大跃进, 1956-1965)
and “The Culture Revolution”(文化大革命, 1966-1977),the education system was damaged
seriously. Through some proper policies in around 1980, the mathematics curriculum was
recovered as that in 1960s. Advanced algebra, analytical geometry and Mathematical analysis as
“old three advanced ones” were recognized dominant courses, and Function analysis, Abstract
algebra and Topology were selected as three new advanced mathematics courses as well. Thus,
the mathematics content knowledge was further emphasized in the mathematic education in
Normal Universities. In the late of 1980s, under the influence of USA and European mathematics
education, computer science related courses became compulsory courses, and particularly, in
1990s, Mathematical modeling, Mathematics experiments and Mathematics education
technology became optional courses in Department of Mathematics. Since then, modern
technology and modern mathematics and mathematics education ideas have played important
influence on the mathematics education in Mainland China.

Innovative Pre-service Mathematics Education Reform for 21st Century
      After 1990s, with the development of economy in Mainland China, and the advancement of
the mathematics science, and information and technology, mathematics education has been
challenged in many ways. Theoretically, with the rapid development of information and
technology, doing mathematics is not a business by using “one paper, one pencil and a brain”
and also teaching mathematics is not a matter by using chalk and board, while mathematical

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modeling, mathematics experiment, and mathematical education technology have come to the
front of mathematics education. Mathematics is not only as a tool for training mind and
expressing other subject, but also comes to the front producing direct economic effect. With the
integration of mathematical theory and mathematical technology, the functions of mathematics
have been extended widely. Then the ideas of mathematics education have to be changed from
traditional and statistic notion to a constructive and dynamic one. In addition, practically, with
the expansion of recruitment students at Universities in 1990s, and diversity of employment of
graduates, the quality of the students in mathematics department went down unavoidably.
Meanwhile, the curriculums at secondary school were condensed and adjusted, some advanced
mathematics such calculus, Probability and statistic, Vector and matrix, Mathematical modeling
were included in secondary mathematics curriculum. Politically, with the suggestion of policy of
“Encouraging comprehensive universities and non-normal university to participate in the
program of teacher education at primary and secondary schools” (Sate Department, 1999) and
release of Agenda on the reform and development of the basic education (State Department,
2001), “to set up an open and holistic teacher education system in which normal university is the
dominant body and other high institutes should participate actively teacher education, both pre-
service education and in-service training should be integrated ” was clearly stated. The privilege
that only the Normal University is responsible for teacher education at primary and secondary
schools was broken. Both internal and external factors have forced the Normal University to
take certain reforms to meet the challenges. Through four-year study, a report on the curriculum
reform in mathematics department at normal university was reported in 2000(Zhang & Wang,
2000). The report claimed that aims of mathematics education at normal university are basically
to train mathematics teacher and to gear for further research or quantitative fields also well. It is
necessary to focus on mathematical content knowledge in department of mathematics. In
addition, when emphasizing mathematics subject matter knowledge, it is also important to keep
one eye on studying primary mathematics with updating ideas. Moreover, it is more important to
update the ideas on mathematics and mathematics education.

Knowledge Preparation at Normal University
      Zhang and Wang(2000) suggested that mathematics curriculum at department of
mathematics should follow up the following principles: (a)less and refined foundation courses, (b)
broad and concise specialization courses, (c) multiple optional courses, (d) high quality
mathematics education courses. The aims of the mathematics curriculum are to reduce the
foundation courses, integrate the specialization course, broaden the optional courses, and
advance the quality of the mathematics education courses. The curriculum schedules in
department of mathematics at different Normal Universities are diverse. It is a trend to provide
students with more flexible choices in courses and specializations. For example, at East China
Normal University, according to students’ interest and requirement, they are streamed into three
optional majors: mathematics education, foundation mathematics, and applied mathematics.
Thus, the students’ freedom and further social requirement can be associated (Chai, in press).
Beijing Normal University (BNU) and East China Normal University (ECNU) are two key
normal universities. The curriculum schedules in the departments in these two universities were
listed in Append I. It was found that both Universities emphasized on mathematics subject
foundations to certain degree while and paid less attention to practicum with 6 weeks periods
(occupying 4% of credits). It was also showed that BNU paid much attention to subject
knowledge (occupying 46% of credits) than ECNU did (36% of credits), while ECNU paid more

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attention to mathematics education courses (15% of credits in ECNU while 13% of credits in
BNU). Thus, even nowadays, the tradition that preparing prospective with strong mathematics
content knowledge but less pedagogical content knowledge and practicum is still kept.
      In a word, the preparation of pre-service mathematics teacher (i.e. department of
mathematics at Normal University) is of the following characteristics: (a) providing pre-service
teacher with a profound mathematics knowledge foundation and highly advanced mathematics
literacy; (b) emphasizing on review and study of primary mathematics. It was believed that a
profound understanding of primary mathematics and strong ability of solving problems in
primary mathematics are crucial for being a qualified mathematics teacher at secondary schools.
Due to the tradition of exam-oriented teaching, high demanding of problems solving ability is
necessary for a qualified teacher; (c) Teaching practicum is weak. Six-week teaching practicum
can only provide pre-service teachers with a preliminary experience of teaching at secondary
schools.

             In-service Mathematics Teachers’ Professional Development

      As aforementioned, the preparation of pre-service mathematics in Mainland China focuses
on making a profound foundation in primary mathematics and advanced mathematics, and
providing students with some mathematics education knowledge as well. Practicum is less
emphasized. Then, how do the graduates from Normal universities who are of a little teaching
practical experiences acclimatize themselves to the teaching practice at secondary school and
become a qualified or even expert mathematics teacher? What policy and mechanism do help
them enhance professional development? In order to explore these questions, it is helpful to
know teacher qualification and promotion policies in Mainland China. Then, the mechanism and
practice of mathematics professional development will be examined and discussed.

                           Teacher Qualification and Position Promotion
     Since the establishment of P.R.China in 1949, majority of secondary mathematics teachers
were graduated from Normal Universities and assigned by relevant authorities, and there were a
small number of teachers graduated from others universities. In extremely cases, some high
schools graduates (1960s) taught at junior high schools. In other words, if you have learnt
mathematics at secondary, you can teach at that level. Due to the release of Teacher Law
(Education Department, 1994), teacher was recognized as a profession from law perspective.
Later on, the release of Regulation of Teacher Qualification (Education Department, 1999)
further shaped the system of teacher professional qualification. Graduates can become teachers at
second schools unless they get a certificate of teacher. The establishment of teacher qualification
system is a breakthrough of teacher education system, and enables the education system on a
scientific, institutional and law track. According to the regulation of teacher qualification,
qualified education degrees for teachers at primary school teacher is graduated from three-year
program after graduating from junior schools; junior high school is graduated three-year
programs after graduating from senior high school; and senior high school is bachelor degree
respectively. According to the regulation of secondary teacher’s position promotion, the
positions of secondary teacher include senior(高级) teacher, intermediate(中级) teacher( level 1
and level 2),primary(初级) teacher (level 3). For each level of teacher position, there is a
specification in term of political, moral and academic aspects. For example, as a secondary
teacher at level 3, he/she should meet following qualifications: political and moral qualification;

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a diploma of three year program after completing senior high school ; one year probation and
passing an examination, and demonstrating the basic knowledge on education, psychology and
pedagogy, mathematical pedagogy; and also can teach at least one course at junior high school.
For another example, the condition for senior teacher are five year or above serving as
secondary school teacher at level 1 or Ph.D holder and demonstrating the ability to take the
responsibility of senior secondary teacher, specifically, the candidates should have (a)systematic
and sound fundamental theory and specializing knowledge, plentiful teaching experience and
good teaching effectiveness, or specializing in political and moral education and classroom
management and achieving high performance and getting rich experience,(b)engaging in the
education research in secondary education and teaching and writing up experience summary,
scientific report and research paper which are of integration of theory and practice at certain
academic level , or making remarkable contribution to improvement of other teachers’
academic level and teaching ability.

                      Traditionally Professional Development Mechanisms

     After receiving certain education degrees, candidates enter teaching career. Some unique
teacher professional development programs and practice in Mainland China will be introduced as
follows.

Mentorship Scheme(师徒制)

      “Mentorship scheme” is a tradition of school-based novice teacher professional
development which has been demonstrated feasible and effective. In order to speed up the
development of novice teachers,and use the expertise of the promising and expert teacher, at
the beginning of new academic year, majority of secondary schools have a gathering celebrating
the forming of Mentorship scheme teacher team. During the gathering, in some cases, formal
pacts will be signed which indicate the regulations for both novice teachers and supervisor
teachers. This approach to training novice teachers is popularized and regulated to certain extent
in Mainland China. For example, in Guangzhou secondary school No. 5, a key secondary
school in Guangzhou city,there are specific requirements for both supervisor teachers and
novice teacher as follows:
     Duties of supervisor are to (a) establish an effective measure for enhancing the development
of novice teachers,(b) talk to novice teachers about the experience of teaching and thinking of
education twice per month, (c) take care of the thoughts, learning, life and teaching of novice
teachers, and help them to solve some practical difficulties or forward those problems to relevant
authorities,(d) inspect the teaching schedule and lesson plans of novice teachers and observing
their lessons more than 10 times per semester, and help them improve teaching skills by
reflection and improvement,(e) examine and supervise novice teachers to implement of “four
ones” and “four musts” requirement. The “four ones” refers to writing up a good lesson plan,
delivering a good mathematics demonstration lesson, writing up a good teaching and education
research paper. And the “four musts” means must to be in school during the office hours, must to
speak in Mandarin, must to be a teacher in charging of a class, and must to recognize one
supervising teacher,(f) write up a summary on the progress and assessment of the novice
teacher ,and report it to the principal.

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Requirement of novice teachers are to (a) actively report their own working and learning to
the supervisor, and modest learn form their supervisor, and conscious accept their supervision,(b)
study hard and try their best to improve their basically administrative skills in charging of classes
under guidance of school leaders, director of grade management and supervisor,(c) try their
best to implement the “four ones” and “four musts” under the guidance of the supervisor,(d)
strictly implement the regulation and requirement of classroom administration, and set down
teir schedule of learning educational theory and conducting education research (at least writing
one paper or summary report per year) , endless improve their theoretical quality and
management ability in classroom administration. Before the end of academic year, it is required
to write a summary report on the learning progress for the supervisor judgment.

     Traditionally, the “mentorship scheme” was selected and made by the authority of the
school. Recently, there are some improvements for this practice. In some schools, “supervisor”
(expert teacher) and “apprentice” (novice teacher) look for their partners from different grades or
different subjects on the basis of mutual benefits and satisfactions. It was demonstrated that this
model of forming “mentorship scheme” will be beneficial to the effective improvement of novice
teachers and the good relationship between novice teachers and their supervisors. Through this
partnership, novice teacher can familiarize himself/herself with teaching materials and effective
teaching methods as soon as possible. Meanwhile, in order to improve learning, teaching &
research through researching into lessons, schools encourage novice teachers to observe more
lessons and deliver more demonstration lesson with basic quantitative requirement of them.
Classroom observation among teachers becomes a common practice which speeds up the
improvement and advancement of novice teacher.

School-based Teaching/Research(教研).

      For mathematics teachers, apart from the teaching period (around 12 lessons per week),
they will work at the office (mathematics subject office or grade based office). It is very
important and crucial what they engage in the office time. Thus two organizations close related
to teacher profession development, mathematics subject teaching/research group, and grader-
based (with other subjects) lesson plan preparation group will be examined as follows.

      Mathematics subject teaching/research group. This group is responsible for guiding the
schedule and implementation of mathematics teaching/research in school ( sometimes, the group
will be separated into junior high school group and senior high school group if the number of
teacher is too large). The roles of the director of the mathematics subject teaching/research
group are to:(a) Make, implement and summarize the detailed schedule of mathematics teaching/
research based on the academic year schedule, by taking the subject features into consideration,
(b) organize teachers to learn the National Curriculum design and mathematics curriculum
standards, specify the teaching schedule and achievement assessment, organize the collaborative
lesson plan, realize the lesson plan, homework mark, and teaching effect of mathematics teachers
and give proper help and suggestion if necessary,(c)organize teaching related research activities
such as select research topic, make research plan, implement research and share research
results,(d)organize teachers to research the textbook and relevant teaching materials and study
effective teaching design and methods at least two times per semester, guide teachers to
collaborative lesson plan and some universal problems solving in teaching practice and share the

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latest development of teaching reform,(e)examine teacher’s teaching plan, homework mark, and
organize exchange activities with other schools under the guidance of teaching affairs
officers,(f)plan as a whole the optional courses, scientific activities, exploring learning, specific
topics lectures and mathematics games and so on,(g)observe classroom at least 15 lessons per
semester, and inspect the implementation of the teaching schedule in due course,(h)organize the
design, mark and analysis of the middle term test and final test in association with the teaching
affair office and conduct one students symposium to learn students’ feedback of teaching so as
to improve teaching,(i)collect, classify and tidy up the relevant teaching materials, and
recommend the book of textbooks, teaching reference materials, exercise manual and review
material,(j) pay attention to the development of young teachers and help them overcome
difficulties faced and improve teaching competence through learning from expert teachers,
delivering demonstration lesson, and participating research activities organized by municipal
education and research authorities,(k)assist school authorities in assessing and recommending the
teachers who want to apply for the promotion of teacher position.

      Grade-based lesson plan group. Grade-based lesson plan group is an organization related to
the implementation of mathematics teaching/research at each grade level. The director of lesson
plan group at each grade is responsible for the organization and guidance of lesson plan at that
grade. Generally speaking, the roles of grade-based lesson plan group are quite similar to the
mathematics subject teaching/research group as far as mathematics teacher profession
development is concerned.

Teaching/Research Activity at Municipality
    Functions of teaching/research activities at school level and municipality level are different.
They are mutually beneficial and complementary.

       Regulated Teaching/Research Activities. Except the school-based teaching/research
activities, there are a variety of activities at municipality and county. It is an important way to
share the experience, improve classroom teaching ability and educational research ability. There
is an extreme diversity in terms of the methods and quality in different provinces or cities. We
just take Guangzhou city, Guangdong province as a case of investigation. There are two reasons
for the selection of Guangzhou city. First, Guangzhou is the capital of Guangdong province
which includes diverse districts in terms of the economic development. Second, Guangdong
province is one of the four experimental areas of the implementation of National Mathematics
Standard for Senior High Schools (Education Department, 2003) since year 2004. Guangzhou
city takes the leading role in this new curriculum textbook experiment. It will be helpful for
understanding the development after implementation of new curriculum standard. Examining
the teaching/ research schedule at senior high school in 2003/04, organized by teaching/research
office, Guangzhou Education Bureau academic (see append II) provided us with a general
picture on the characteristics of the activities.
      Based on the schedule, the following features can be observed:(a) There are around four
times of activities per semester, namely, one activity for one month. Usually, the activities were
arranged in the morning of Friday. This arrangement would avoid the conflicts between school
based activity and municipal activity, and reduce the negative impact on normal teaching work,
(b) in each activity, the theme and lecturer were decided in advance so that the activity would be
systematic and topic focused, (c)the speeches by the lecturers from expert teacher at secondary

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school, teaching/ research educator(教 研员) at district education institutes, or mathematics
educators from Universities can give teachers proper demonstration and sample, (d)regarding the
contents of lectures, it would be focused on the teaching content analysis and teaching
suggestion while it still be focused on the preparation of entry examination for the teacher who
give lesson with final years of the students. In general, the aim of the activities is to improve
classroom teaching. Under strict examination systems, it is reasonable to focus on the
preparation of entrance examination.

Competition of Teaching Skill
     Besides the normal teaching/research activities, educational authorities and relevant
organizations have organized various competitions of excellent lessons through public appraisal.
Take Guangzhou city for example. There is a competition of “Ten excellent young mathematics
teachers in Guangzhou” organized by the municipal education authority and mathematics
education association. The aim of conducting this competition is to enhance the education and
teaching competence of young mathematics teachers, and provide them an opportunity to
develop their professional competence. Since 2002, various competition activities have been
established. For examples, “Ten excellent young mathematics teachers at senior high school in
Guangzhou”, “Ten excellent young mathematics teachers at junior high school in Guangzhou”,
and “appraisal through comparison of mathematics teaching/research paper of secondary
mathematics teachers in Guangzhou”, and “competition of solving problems secondary young
mathematics teachers”        and son on. Educational organizations and schools have actively
participated and supported these kinds of activities so as to make those activities successful.
Since 2003, these kinds of activities have been carried out regularly.
     In summary, these competitions for young mathematics teachers require three advanced
teaching basic skills, i.e. classroom teaching, problem solving and research paper writing. The
champions of these competitions since 1999 have won good reputes in young mathematics
teachers in Guangzhou, which demonstrated the catalyzing roles of young teacher’s development.
In addition, there are some nationally excellent research papers selection such as “national
mathematics education research appraisal at secondary school” organized by secondary
mathematics teaching profession committee, China Education Association. Besides these kinds
of competitions, there are different kinds of short terms training programs, and symposiums. All
of them have played positive roles in mathematics teacher’s professional development,
particularly in classroom teaching skill and mathematics education research ability.

                         Continuing Education Project for 21st Century
     During the 10 year of “culture revolution”, education enterprise has been damaged seriously.
For example, only 10% of junior school teacher have got an education diploma (three year
programs after completing senior high schooling). In order to tackle this problem, in 1980s, the
policy of in-service teacher training was to “learn what you need to teach” and “provide what
you are weak”, the main aim was to achieve the education degree standard and teaching
qualification, called “compensation training”. However, in middle of 1990s, with the
achievement of the aim of “compensation training”, Education Department put forward a new
agenda on continuing education, that is to serve for all, give prominence to the key teacher(骨干),
pay attention to the achievement, make great efforts to explore a basic framework and model
which is suitable for continuing education in Mainland China. In the Education Revival Agenda
for 21st Century (Education Department, 1999),one “across century teacher project” was

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proposed. According to the project, within three years, all the principals and teachers at primary
and secondary schools would be trained in various ways. Within two years, 100,000 key
teachers selected from primary and secondary school and vocational schools would be trained,
and Education Department would take the responsible for training 10,000 key teachers. In 1999,
Education Department deployed and started the “continuing education project for primary and
secondary school teachers”,and mobilized governments and educational authorities at different
levels to make their efforts in advancing teachers’ ability of implement of quality education, and
enhancing the whole quality of the teaches(Cheng,2002).

Training of Mathematics Key (骨干)Teachers
     Mathematics key teachers can be classified into three levels, namely, national, provincial
and municipal. In 2000, Education Department activated the National training programs for key
teacher from primary and secondary schools by using some centralized education resources. And
the local governments also made their efforts in training key teachers from primary and
secondary schools through establishing multiple channels of rising specific funding for the
teacher training. The aims of key teacher training at different levels are to build teams of
modernization, demonstration and ushering teachers to bring along the improvement of whole
teachers at primary and secondary schools.

      Mathematics key teachers training program. There are two levels in this program: national
and local program. At the national level, this program was organized and implemented by several
comprehensive and normal universities such as Beijing Normal Universities, East China Normal
University, Southern China Normal University and so on. The program includes learning of
theory, field observation, and educational research. The second national key teachers training
program has the following characteristics: (1)catering for the requirement of teacher professional
development in the future, and paying attention to participants’ practice and need, insisting on
the high standards of national training program, and sticking to enhancing the theoretical literacy
and teaching practice at the same time, particularly , aiming at implementing the general aim of
qualify education into subject teaching, developing multiple but unique training courses system
and teaching methods based on the uniqueness of each training institute;(2) elaborative
organizing a comprehensive and opened tutor team which consist of high prestigious subject
expert, educationalist, and famous teacher at second school;(3) insisting on integration of
participant’s principal role and tutor’s steering role, and enhancing participants’ self-learning,
self-practicing and self-researching by means of multiple teaching approaches;(4) developing a
set of high quality demonstration lessons through elaborate design and teaching and
revision;(5)insisting on doing research and improving the awareness and ability of doing
research. Encouraging participants to apply recent education and subject achievement to teaching
practice, and enhance this transformation through doing research (Education Department,2001).
According to the suggestion by Education Department (2000), the courses for Key teacher
training program include theory and skill (40%), practice and observation (30%), education
research (30%). Let us take Guangzhou case for example. In October, 2000, Southern China
Normal University conducted two national programs for key mathematics teachers at secondary
and primary schools respectively. The contents of the training programs included three elements:
Theory and skill, Practice and observation, and Educational research. Theory and skill includes
update of education ideas, cultivation of teacher moral, extension of mathematics and relevant
subjects knowledge, content- pedagogical knowledge and skills, modern educational technology

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etc.. It is intended to make the trainees love education enterprise, form a scientific point of view
on teaching and mathematics education, update the knowledge structure, master the modern
education technology, improve the mathematics education theory and practical skill, and enhance
the academic ability. Practice and observation means to organize trainees to investigate some
representative schools or cases through analyzing, discussion, sharing and reflection report
writing. It aims to improve the ability of applying theory into practice, and reflecting and
improving practice so as to train them to be mathematics education experts. Educational
research consists of doing certain education research through selecting themes, purposeful
reading, and research paper writing under tutors’ supervision. Its purpose is to enhance the
awareness and ability of doing education research, and further foster the education creative
ability. Usually, it will take more than one year. During the first week in full-time, through
reading and discussion , the research topics are selected, then around year in part-time, the
trainees will conduct a research and complete the research papers , finally, within one week, the
research paper will be defended and the training programs will be completed.
       At provincial and municipal levels, the program was organized by provincial universities or
institutes locally. The framework of provincial and municipal key teacher training programs is
similar to that of national key teacher program.

Training for Advanced Education Degrees
     For the sake of the demand of social development, higher degrees such as master degree or
master course diploma at secondary schools are required. Some programs for obtaining advanced
degrees have been created since 2000.

      Meeting requirement of education degree through multiple training programs and channels.
For those who have not met the education degree requirement of secondary school teacher, there
are different channels to purse the advancement of education degrees. Some continuing
education schools at universities have made contribution to the advancement of unqualified
education degree teacher through teaching by correspondence, nigh university, and self-learning
examination etc. Since 2003, the internet education school at university also plays important
roles in the education degree advancement secondary teachers.

      Achieving higher education degree for basic education. In order to advance qualified
secondary teacher with higher education degree, some master course programs or master in
education programs specializing in mathematics education have been opened in many provinces
since 1998. The models of these programs have been matured progressively. There are multiple
models such as full-time, half full-time and half part-time, holiday courses etc so as to meet the
requirements of different candidates. The candidates who complete master course program will
get certificates and can apply for a master degree if they pass an English test and thesis defenses.
Both programs of master degree education are beneficial to the advancement of education degree
of secondary teacher, and improvement of the education degree structures of secondary teachers.

      In the year of 2005, the qualified rates of teachers’ education degree at primary school,
junior school and high school are 98.62%, 95.24% and 83.46% respectively. The number of
advanced education degree of teacher has been increased stably. For example, there are more
than 56.35% of primary specified teacher holding a three year training diploma, and there are
more than 35.31% of junior specified teacher achieving bachelor degree, and there are more than

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1.18% senior specified teacher holding a master degree or above. In addition, the percent of
higher position of teachers at primary school, junior school and high school are 42.55%、6.56%
and 19.29%, increasing to 3.28%、0.93% and 0.80% respectively, compared with those in the
last year( Education Department, 2006).

                          Implementation of Mew Mathematics Curriculum
      With the release and implementation of Mathematics Curriculum Standard for Compulsory
Education Stage (experimental version) in year 2001, relevant mathematics experimental
textbooks have been implemented for experiment around Mainland China since 2005. After the
release of the Mathematics Curriculum Standards for Normal Senior High School in 2003, four
provinces were participated in the experiment of the new textbook guided by the new standard in
2004, and there are 8 experimental providences around Mainland China in 2005. It is an extreme
reform of mathematics curriculum since the establishment of P.R.China in 1949. To implement
the new curriculums, the teachers have to meet the following challenges such as upgrading and
transformation of teaching notions, putting into effect of the teaching aims, understanding and
mastering of some new contents, exploration of the innovative teaching methods, mastery and
applying of the education technology, implementation of the assessment of the teaching and so
on. Take the experiment of the new curriculum for senior high school in Guangdong for example.
From primary school to junior high schools, new textbooks pertaining to the new curriculum
standard were adopted in all grades since 2005. According to the guidance by Education
Department, namely, “before using it you must be trained; you can’t use it without training” , it
is necessary to be trained with at least 40 hours before using the new textbook(Education
Department, 2004), all the experimental areas have organized training programs for the teachers
who will use new textbooks. The teacher’s training for implementation of new curriculum has
been carried out systematically according to the guidance of Education Department. First of all,
it is the training of trainers and key teacher nationally, and then the training of local trainers,
after that, all the teachers who are going to use the new curriculum will be trained.

Training of The Key Trainers of Mathematics New Curriculum
     In the training of teachers who teach the new curriculums, it is very important to educate the
trainers who are from the education organization, normal universities and training organization
and the key teacher. All of them will take a core role of the implementation of the new
curriculum and lead the teachers to engage in the experiment of the new curriculum. Regarding
mathematics subject, there are two levels of key trainers’ training program, i.e. national and
provincial programs.

      National key trainers study program. Education Department has organized national key
trainers study programs. The model of the study consists of expert lectures, group exchange,
cooperation discussion, cases teaching, field classroom observation and examination and so on.
Usually, the key trainer training program includes the following phases: (a) Before participating
the program, candidates must have investigated the situation in the experiment area where they
work and collected the teachers requests, and collected and written typical teaching cases( 3-5
cases) on the teaching of the new curriculum 3-5 cases, (b)before the completion of the program,
all participants must submit a summary report individually, (c) after completion of the program,
the participants must submit a training schedule for provincial key trainers .

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Provincial key trainer study program. With the deployment of the new curriculum
experiment, it is important to educate provincial key trainers so that the experiment at local level
can be implemented effectively. During the process of experiment of the new curriculum, some
critical and urgent issues have to be tackled. For example, the misunderstanding of the new
curriculum principles by the teachers, the mismatch between textbook and curriculum standard,
the conflict between innovative teaching methods and traditional teaching methods, the gap
between the subject knowledge required by the new curriculum and the subject knowledge had
by the teachers, the assessment of the effectiveness of implementing the new curriculum. The
study program for the provincial key trainers was intended to discuss and tackle these pertinent
and practical problems so that these educated key trainers have the abilities to creatively
implement the ideas of the new curriculum into classroom and deal with certain unexpected
situations. The methods of the study are whole classroom lectures and grouping discussion. It is
more important to participate in and contribute to the study community in order to enhance the
effectiveness of the study. After the program, the frequent interaction between experts and key
trainers was encouraged.

Training of Senior High Teachers for Implementation of New Curriculum
     Take Guangdong province for example. In year 2004, all the mathematics teachers who
teach at senior high school year 1 were required to participate in training programs organized by
the department of mathematics at Southern China Normal University group during that summer.
The training program includes two main components, pedagogical content and subject content.
The pedagogical knowledge includes (a) the background, aims, content and policy of this basic
education reform; (b) new curriculum and new teaching principles; (c) new curriculum and
assessment reform; (d) new curriculum and shift of the teacher roles. One the other the
pedagogical content knowledge was included such as theories of mathematics teaching and
learning. Subject matter knowledge refers to (a)interpretation of mathematics curriculum for
senior high schools,(b)analysis of the mathematics textbooks and teaching cases for senior high
schools, (c) comparison of the textbooks between new version and old one and (d)classroom
observation and discussion, typical cases discussion and critical comments.

      By the end of 2005, there are 7 millions of primary and junior high school teachers and 7
millions of senior high school teachers completing 40 hours of training of new curriculum. And
Education Department had directly trained around 22 thousands of key trainers and key teachers
of new curriculum sending the seeds for implementation of new curriculum at provincial level
and, effectively promoting the experiment and extending of new curriculum at basic
education(Education Department, 2006)

Internet-based Summer Course for Training Secondary and Primary School Teachers
      Since year 2003, Education Department initiated a “program of national teacher internet
alliance” aiming at enhancing the integration of teacher education system, and satellite television,
computer internet and other education resources. Implementing this program includes four levels
of tasks: national, provincial, country and school-based. By the end of year 2005, the first three
levels of tasks have been carried out step by step. In the summer of year 2006, Education
department conducted a Web-based summer course for practical teacher at city and county,
which is an exploratory way for teacher training. This course is served for more than ten
thousands of key teachers at front of teaching from 49 counties. At the same time, there are other

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couples of ten thousands of teachers learn by themselves through web-based courses. This
training focused on important points, difficulty points and doubtable points during the
implementation of new curriculum. By focusing on the practical problems appeared when
teaching the reform-oriented textbooks, the course consists of three major themes, namely,
classroom teaching, students’ learning, and teacher professional development. The contents of
this course are mainly cases studies catering for closely related to practices, classrooms, and
subjects. The training mainly adopted the following methods: watching video online, reading text
material, sharing experience, discussing problems, expert comment and so on. Based on a
questionnaire survey, there are more than 90% of participants satisfying with this programs, and
positive comments on this programs have been received widely (Education Department, 2006).

      However, no matter the web-based training program or key teacher training programs are at
national level and local levels. It is mainly course-based training which is still not related to
specific content and specific practical situation. These approaches still can not solve the effective
implementation of new curriculum in classrooms. Thus, school-based teaching/research aiming
to improve the quality of classroom teaching under the condition of implementation of new
curriculum is more urgent. Although there is a long tradition of school-based teaching/research
in China, it has been challenged due to the implementation of reform-orientated curriculum.
Recently, an exploratory school-based teaching/research model, called school-based study(研修)
has been experimented and populated in China. Some of the features will be discussed in the
next session.

From School-based Teaching/Research(教研) to School-based Study(研修)
      As described above, teaching/research activity has been in place for a long history, which
has demonstrated some positive roles in teacher professional development. However, recent
years, school-based study has been advocated and populated around Mainland China. What are
the new development and unique feature of the school-based study? With the deployment of the
new curriculum, the school-based study is a development of teaching/ research by adopting the
“learning community” notions (Lave & Wenger, 1991). The school-based study includes the
following shifts (Gu, 2005): (a) from a teaching skill proficiency oriented to teaching cultural
oriented, (b) from study on content and pedagogy to study on student’s learning and teaching
behavior, (d) from focus on the teaching schedule to focus on the cultivation of research
awareness, (e) from focus on the experience to upgrade of the education ideas and cultural
reconstruction. Thus, the school-based study is a profound revolution of teacher’s teaching
methods and research methods, and teacher learning and developing as well. It is the school-
based study that makes the teacher to be the ownership of teaching, research and cultivating.
The knowledge of teacher consists of explicit knowledge which is written in text and the tacit
knowledge which is embedded in context and situation. The tacit knowledge can not be
transmitted from one to another, only can be learnt through participating in activities and
interaction with others. In the school-based study, it is emphasized the “integration of knowing
and action”(知行合一) and collaborative teacher learning. Teacher learning is problem-driven.
Through recognition of practical problem and designing the method to solve the problem and
finally solving the problem in quest, teachers have experienced the process of solving practical
problems and developed their practical wisdom but not only purely theoretical knowledge.
Teacher learning is also a case-based reasoning because the problems that teachers faced are ill-
structured ones. It is important to have the multiple representations of problems and random

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assess to the problems. Knowing and affection are inseparable. In the school-based study,
teachers’ affection and experience is particular concerned. As a human being, a teacher should be
regarded as a whole and interpersonal people. The wholeness means that teachers should have
experienced in “seven affections and six desires” and “acridness, sweetness, bitterness and
pepper”. Thus it is necessary for teachers to engage in learning and knowing with affection.
“Interpersonal” people means that teachers as normal people need to learn and share together
within a practical community. Thus, it is also important to establish practical community with a
safe, reliable, mistakable atmosphere so that the reflection meeting during as study activity is not
a kind of criticism one but a constructive and brainstorming session. With the learning
community, any mistakes they make will not be criticized to create pressure to the teachers but
be treated as a learning opportunity.
      “Focusing on classroom” is an educational research trend, and also the key of improving
teaching quality; it is no doubt that the school-based teaching/ research should pay key attention
to the researching into classroom. In year 2002, Gu et al suggested a model of in-service teacher
professional development, called “Action Education” (Gu & Wang,2003).According to this
model, Keli (similar to Japanese Lesson Study) study is a medium of unfolding the program,
expertise leading and action follow-up are emphasized(Huang& Bao,2006). Through
collaborative experiencing three phases, i.e. existing behavior, new design and new behavior, the
practicing teachers have improved their classroom teaching. By overcoming the gap between the
first stage and second one, and gaps between the second and third one, the practicing teachers
update their education ideas and adjust their teaching behavior, and finally improve the quality of
classroom teaching and professional knowledge. “Action research” is a research paradigm which
aims at improvement of action, and recoding the process of improvement, i.e. design-action-
reflection, and theoretical application and practical wisdom learning with a practical community
(Gu, 2005).

                                 Conclusion and Discussion

                       Emphasizing on Mathematics Subject Foundations

     On the basis of curriculum framework in the department of mathematics at normal university,
both tradition and innovation ones emphasizes the foundation of mathematics subject knowledge.
With the establishment of multiple teacher education system, more and more graduates from
other comprehensive universities will join the teacher enterprise. Due to the demanding
recruitment of comprehensive universities (possible higher scores of university entrance
examination and higher requirement of mathematics training at university), their mathematics
literacy will not less than the graduates from normal universities. Thus, the tradition of the
mathematics teachers with a profound mathematics subject knowledge will be kept.Moreover,
Leung (2003) argued that emphasizing on subject knowledge of teachers is rooted in notion of
teachers and normal university in Mainland China. The graduates from normal university
(teachers’ model) should be the model of their students with regard to moral and academic
aspects. It is necessary for teacher to have sound subject knowledge. In fact, many studies also
emphasize the important impact of mathematics subject knowledge on the teacher professional
development. In his landmark review of 30 studies of teachers’ knowledge of mathematics,
Begle (1979) concluded: “It seems to be taken for granted that it is important for the teacher to
have a thorough understanding of the subject matter being taught” (p. 28). The Glenn

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