Wearing new shoes to walk the old road: The negotiation of opposing imperatives in high school new curriculum classes in China

Tanja Sargent, Mingyu Chen, Yi Jung Wu, Chentong Chen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

11 Scopus citations


When college entrance examinations act as gatekeepers to modern-sector jobs, the entire education system then becomes oriented toward these examinations. This occurs at the expense of learning for the sake of learning and other aspects of education that address the holistic development and well-being of students. In recent years in China, there has been growing concern that examination competition has compromised the quality of classroom teaching and learning and is detrimental to the development of skills necessary for the global knowledge economy. These concerns have given rise to a far-reaching set of education reforms known as the New Curriculum reforms which have aimed to move students to the center of teaching and learning and to transform teaching and learning so as to foster such capacities as creativity, innovation, collaboration, selfexpression, engagement, enjoyment of learning, inquiry skills, problemsolving abilities, and ability to apply knowledge in practice. In this chapter, we use videotaped high school New Curriculum demonstration lessons to examine teaching and learning practices that are regarded as exemplary in the current reform context. We investigate how teachers are negotiating the competing demands of preparing students for the examinations and addressing the aims of the New Curriculum reforms. The nature of student participation in the classroom emerges in the analysis as a key indicator of the success of this negotiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Impact and Transformation of Education Policy in China
EditorsTiedan Huang, Alexander Wiseman
Number of pages20
StatePublished - 2011

Publication series

NameInternational Perspectives on Education and Society
ISSN (Print)1479-3679

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • China
  • Curriculum reform
  • Examinations
  • Secondary education
  • Student participation


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