This project was a collaboration between the University of Warwick and the Yunnan Education Centre for International Exchanges in partnership with Kunming University of Science of Technology (KUST). The project aimed to support a team of researchers from KUST to establish an online professional learning community (PLC) linking two middle schools in rural Yunnan. The project involved the collaborative design of a series of preliminary workshops with the aim that the KUST team would then take on the facilitation of the PLC. 

The project began with a needs analysis to help understand the professional development needs of the teachers in the schools and their previous experiences working in the two schools. They collected this data through a questionnaire and a focus group of teachers from the two schools. 

The project team found that the teachers in the two pilot schools had difficulties in managing classes in which students’ abilities were quite different, and they especially had difficulty responding to the learning needs of students whose level of English was very low. Although there was a diverse range of teaching practices used by teachers at the schools most teachers had a more restricted repertoire of practices, and this contributed to some of their difficulties in responding to the diverse cohort of students. Students’ motivation and engagement were also important issues for these teachers. We also found that teachers had particular difficulties in managing their time and the conflicting demands on teachers’ time. Four workshops were designed, focusing on these issues as a way of launching a PLC that supported teachers to work collaboratively to address their own professional learning. 

This programme is one of three key projects supporting pre- and in-service English teacher education in Yunnan province, supported by the British Council. The combined findings and outputs promise to have a significant impact on local teacher English teacher education and will contribute to the improved awareness and quality of teacher delivery while supporting more equitable and sustainable provision. 

Project introduction at 2023 China TeachingEnglish Online Conference

Please click above to see the project introduction at 2023 China TeachingEnglish Online Conference