Autonomy and collegiality in trainer-training: An east-west partnership


Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


This paper is based on a study of five primary English teachers within a professional development programme established by the British Council, the University of Nottingham/Hong Kong Institute of Education and the Taipei City Bureau of Education. The research is based on analyses of semi-structured interviews and specially written teacher’s packs for English language teaching (ELT) in schools in Taipei City. The data chart teachers’ perceptions of the impact of three stages in their professional development: improving ELT methodological skills, becoming a trainer and becoming a writer. Teachers’ professional development usually consists of in-service training (INSET), although many studies show that it may have little impact on teachers’ classroom practice. (Lamb, 1995); Bax (1995, 199) stresses the importance of context-sensitivity in teacher education courses; Freeman (1996) outlines factors in successful research on teacher learning, while Tsui (2004) examines features of teachers’ developing expertise in the East Asian context. Three key issues in the development of projects include the levels and quality of support provided, sustainability and ownership. Support was provided and sustainability maintained in five ways: the outside “expert”, a select professional development team, a networking project for primary English teachers in Taipei City, an effective project leader and an excellent level of collegiality established over three years. Ownership was achieved by building in aspects of teacher autonomy and context-sensitivity in the programme, including interviews with local practicing primary teachers for the writing project. Within the three stages of professional development, the data provide insights into teachers’ perceptions of the role of the “expert” and their colleagues. The data also chart teachers’ reflections on their learning processes, showing the extent to which they feel confident enough to continue supporting other English teachers. Longitudinal studies of non-native foreign language teachers on this kind of programme are rare.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2005


Brewster, J. (2005, December). Autonomy and collegiality in trainer-training: An east-west partnership. Paper presented at Faculty of Education of CUHK 40th Anniversary International Conference: Developing Teacher Leadership and Education Partnership in the Face of Education Reform, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China.


  • Autonomy
  • Partnership
  • Trainer-training


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