This landscape report on the digital CPD needs of teachers of English in basic education in China, Japan and South Korea is the result of comprehensive research that took place in 2021 and 2022. Using questionnaires and interviews, over 7,000 teachers working at primary and secondary levels across China, Japan and South Korea gave information about their professional development experiences and preferences for future PD. The resultant findings and recommendations contained in this report will therefore be invaluable reading for policy makers, providers of teacher education and other stakeholders involved in the professional development of state sector English teachers.

Highlights of recommendations for English teacher professional development in China

  • Practical, realistic materials and activities: PD activities should be practical in orientation, including useful and even directly useable materials, recognising current realities in varied contexts across China.
  • Supporting understandings of theory and support for current textbooks: Teachers express a strong need for support in deeper understanding of teaching theories and linking theories to classroom practice, and also a need for materials that support and link to their current curricula and textbook content.

Highlights of recommendations for English teacher professional development in Japan

  • Initiatives aiming to develop English proficiency, potentially alongside building content understanding, are likely to be useful and popular. PD themes and offerings are likely to be most attractive to teachers if they have immediate practical relevance or utility in the classroom and are tailored to Japanese contexts.
  • There is a clear need for more teacher-driven PD and increasing interest in free, live and interactive sessions for online PD. International PD providers may benefit from partnering with local organisations and authorities, in order to cater effectively for Japanese teachers’ needs.

Highlights of recommendations for English teacher professional development in South Korea

  • A focus on developing learners’ language skills and teachers’ own English for teaching in future PD provision would be impactful. PD resources and initiatives should have practical relevance and classroom utility to appeal to teachers’ self-identified needs.
  • There are a range of opportunities in online PD, particularly through live, interactive sessions offering free, practical resources. There is also a felt need among teachers for more systematic and clearer communication of events and opportunities from authorities and PD providers.

Report citation:

Borg, S., Anderson, J., Beaumont, B., Xie, K., Guo, Y., Thorburn, R., Choi, T., Kim, H. J., Aizawa, I., & Fujinaga, K. (2022). The continuing professional development experiences and needs of English language teachers (Countries: China, Japan and Korea). London, UK: British Council.