Date of Conferral







Cheryl Keen


Schoolteachers in China are required by the government to transition from teacher-centered to student-centered instruction. Researchers have shown the challenges of and successes in implementing the instructional changes; however, a gap exists surrounding the challenges and successes of reforms from the perspective of teachers. The purpose of this generic qualitative study was to better understand the experiences of Chinese schoolteachers as the system of education in China transitions from teacher-centered to student-centered classroom instruction. The conceptual framework for this study included Schön’s concept of the reflective practitioner and Liu and Hallinger and Knapp et al.’s work on the role of school leadership in the experience of teachers during systemic change. The research question focused on what Chinese schoolteachers experience as the education system in China transitions from teacher-centered instruction to student-centered instruction. Using open coding, six interviews were analyzed for emergent codes and themes. Three themes reflected teachers’ need for professional development, the development over time of teachers’ student-centered practice, and teachers’ selection of pedagogy that is supportive of student needs and interests. The results may have implications for positive social change as the government, school leaders, and professional development providers in China find ways to provide development opportunities that are more aligned with teachers’ needs. At this time of rapid cultural and economic growth in China, more support for Chinese schoolteachers could help China prepare graduates who are more creative and increasingly innovative thinkers, which is critical for China’s 21st century economic advancement.