Learning to teach: Pre-service language teachers’ professional development

Xuesong GAO

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers


In this paper, we report on an ethnographic-like study that explored the nature, scope and process of pre-service language teachers' self-directed professional development in teaching practices in Hong Kong. In the study, we conceptualize that these pre-service teachers' learning takes place socially, in a variety of social networks, rather than cognitively, in the students' minds alone. Using narrative interviews and observations, we explored how students accessed and utilized various sources of knowledge and converted them into professional competence. In the inquiry, we identified that peer support played a critical role in mediating and sustaining the participants' professional learning. They were also found to have a variety of socialization experiences with other staff in their teaching practice schools. Some of them received warm support and encouragement from their supporting teachers and other teaching staff. Others nevertheless experienced isolation in schools. The findings suggest that teacher educators support community building among pre-service teachers in their efforts to learn to teach in teaching practices.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010


Gao, X. (2010, December). Learning to teach: Pre-service language teachers’ professional development. Paper presented at the 2nd East Asian International Conference on Teacher Education Research: Teacher Education for the Future: International Perspectives, The Hong Kong Institute of Education, China.


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