Research project

Investigating Mandarin Chinese Teachers' Professional Development Needs in the UK

Project overview

The learning and teaching of Mandarin Chinese as a second or foreign language (CSL/CFL) has been gaining momentum around the world, leading to a shortage of qualified Chinese teachers. Thus more research is needed into the training and professional development of Chinese teachers. This study investigates the challenges and difficulties that native Chinese-speaking teachers of Mandarin have encountered in British schools and the professional development that they desire. A questionnaire survey and semi-structured interviews were used for data collection from native Chinese-speaking teachers of Mandarin in Confucius Institutes (Hanban teachers) in the UK. Results show that participants have encountered linguistic, pedagogical and socio-cultural challenges. Major challenges reported by the Hanban teachers include lack of English proficiency and intercultural competence, lack of knowledge about the local education system, and lack of effective pedagogical methods and classroom management skills to work with disruptive students, students with special educational needs, as well as teaching assistants. The study concludes that training and professional development tailored to the local context seems imperative for this group of teachers to facilitate their effective teaching and localisation.


Lead researcher

Dr Ying Zheng PhD

Associate Professor

Research interests

  • Psychometrics and test validation; Human scoring vs. machine scoring; Statistics in applied linguistics; Comparative Judgement in language testing
  • Mandarin exams in the UK school system, including A-Level and GCSE exams; Mandarin Chinese teachers’ professional development
  • Learner motivation and language teaching pedagogy; ESL/EFL learner characteristics and test performance
Connect with Ying

Research outputs