Teaching mobile population: Understanding the emotions and challenges experienced by a group of EFL teachers teaching rural-to-urban migrant students in urban China

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers

Abstract

The unprecedented urbanization in China has drawn attention to the education of children who migrate from rural to urban areas together with their families. While most of the recent studies investigated migrant students’ learning experiences, scare research attention has been paid to the EFL teachers who teach the migrant students. The current study delves into the teacher emotions of English as a Foreign Language (EFL) teachers who work in public secondary schools with migrant students in China from a social-political angle. Being a dynamic part of human beings, emotions are involved in all organizations including school settings and are depicted as being “at the heart of teaching” (Hargreaves, 1998, p. 835). Teachers’ emotions are constantly constructed and shaped during their teaching; through the lens of teacher emotion, we can gain more understanding of the educational and working realities in schools and society. Conducting qualitative interviews with ten EFL teachers across different age groups in various public secondary schools in China, we discovered that most of the EFL teachers found it challenging to teach migrant students English and that required huge emotional efforts at work. EFL teachers’ emotion was found to be related to migrant students’ frequent social mobility, institutional requirements of the school, teacher-parent relationship with migrant parents. Mixed teachers’ emotions emerge such as satisfaction, stressfulness, powerlessness, frustration, empathy, and a lack of accomplishment which may have led to the shift of teachers’ professional identity and could further influence EFL teacher’ pedagogical plan and professional development. Thus, it is argued that more support should be provided at both institutional and policy level to help EFL teachers with migrant students to cope with their emotions and to enhance the English language teaching and learning for migrant students. Copyright © 2019 Inaugural Conference on Language Teaching and Learning.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019

Citation

Wei, C., & Gu, M. M. (2019, June). Teaching mobile population: Understanding the emotions and challenges experienced by a group of EFL teachers teaching rural-to-urban migrant students in urban China. Paper presented at the Inaugural Conference on Language Teaching and Learning: Cognition and Identity: Transforming Language Education and Research, Empowering Teachers and Learners, The Education University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.

Keywords

  • PG student publication

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