Education for development: Professional commitments and practices among Tibetan teachers in Northwest China

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Abstract

Based on semi-structured interviews with Tibetan teachers in Qinghai Province in Northwest China, this article explores how the teachers, who hold subject positions as pedagogical professionals and local intellectual elites, understand the value and implications of education for Tibetan people, and how they navigate their profession in the local education system. Findings show that the teachers demonstrate strong professional commitments towards the development of Tibetan society, which embodies an entanglement of knowledge and skills acquisition, Tibetan cultural and language preservation, and selective transformation of value and behaviourial orientations among students as well as parents. Firstly, the teachers are committed to students’ acquisition of school knowledge and skills which they believe would lead to better socio-economic outcomes for individuals and their families. Secondly, the teachers, especially the Tibetan language teachers, elaborated on the importance of education and their professional roles in transmitting Tibetan culture and language. Finally, the teachers attempt to make students motivated and competent to cope with rising educational and social competition, and make parents more supportive of and involved in school education. These findings show that the Tibetan teachers play crucial roles in the socio-economic and cultural transformations and development of Tibetan society in China, and shed light on their active engagement with modernisation discourses and projects. The paper also contributes to domestic and international scholarly discussions on teachers’ work and professional roles, education for ethnic minorities, education in developing contexts, and ethnic minorities’ engagement with modernisation (or similar processes such as globalisation). Copyright © 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEducational Review
Early online dateMar 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Mar 2023

Citation

Ying, J. (2023). Education for development: Professional commitments and practices among Tibetan teachers in Northwest China. Educational Review. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/00131911.2023.2170331

Keywords

  • Education
  • Modernisation
  • Tibetan teachers
  • China

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