Training and Needed Support for New Chinese Volunteer Teachers in Thailand
29 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2022
Date Written: February 14, 2022
The Chinese Volunteer Teacher (CVT) Program was established by the Chinese government as part of its worldwide “soft power” Chinese language and culture promotion initiative in 2003. By 2017 it had sent over 470,000 CVTs to 139 countries. This represents, for the first time in modern Chinese history, that large numbers of Chinese university graduates have worked and lived abroad as teachers. Thailand is one of the first countries where the program was introduced and extensively implemented, and where CVTs have become vital to the delivery of Chinese language instruction.
This study investigated one cohort of CVTs in Thailand and their impressions of the volunteer role, their impressions of the professional development support they received, and the challenges they faced as Chinese language educators in Thai schools. The study employed a mixed methodology involving an initial survey of 200 CVTs, with two sets of follow-up interviews. Study results identified what it meant to the CVTs to be “volunteer teachers” in relation to their teaching work in Thailand, including prior teaching experience that was helpful, and factors that adversely affected their work performance, such as insufficient prior information about local Thai schools and lack of local support from Thai schools and the Chinese government. The study further found that in-service training once the CVTs were in place was quite limited. Ultimately, most CVTs decided to leave their posts early, after only one year. Finally, the study makes recommendations for improving pre-service and in-service professional development programs for CVTs.
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