Preschool Teacher Preparation in Upper Secondary Vocational Schools: Cross-generation Analysis of Teachers’ Narratives on Decision-making, Lifelong Learning and Career Development

Jing Shi, PhD Student, Faculty of Education, Monash University, Email:


Preschool education is targeted as a key focus area for educational reforms in China. The reform[1] highlighted the teacher preparation system to cultivate an adequate group of preschool educators with college or university degrees. Vocational secondary education plays a vital role in improving teacher quality since preschool teacher preparation programs are initiated at this level. Previous literatures in this area focused on investigating the professional self-identity of teachers to improve teacher quality. This qualitative study, beyond emphasising on pre- and post-career trainings, looks deeper into individual teachers’ narrative on their early career decision-making, lifelong learning stories and ongoing career development. The initial findings present an explorative cross-generation analysis (1998 – 2018) with five participants who became preschool teachers through the vocational secondary education track within Ningbo City, Zhejiang Province. In addition to participant stories concurrent policy stories taking place over these two decades are thematically explored for deeper insight and understanding into how this skilled workforce has developed over time and the impact that government policies and vocational tracks have on workforce development in the preschool education sector.  

[1] The Reform: On 7th November 2018, the State Council of China introduced the reform Several Opinions on Deepening the Reform and Standardisation of Preschool Education (中共中央 国务院关于学前教育深化改革规范发展的若干意见) to improve early childhood education.

Narrative study, early childhood teacher preparation, vocational upper secondary education, decision-making, teacher agency

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