Journal of Educational Change

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 25-46

First online:

Teachers’ emotions and professional identity in curriculum reform: A Chinese perspective

  • John Chi-Kin LeeAffiliated withDepartment of Curriculum and Instruction, Hong Kong Institute of Education Email author 
  • , Hong-Biao YinAffiliated withDepartment of Curriculum and Instruction, Faculty of Education, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

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In educational research, emotion has attracted substantial attention since the mid-1990s. While there are many studies of teacher emotion in educational change in the West, there is a remarkable dearth of such studies in China. This qualitative study attempts to address this issue by examining teachers’ emotional experiences in the national curriculum reform of senior secondary education in China. Results indicate that teachers revealed complex emotional responses to the reform. These emotions were related to teachers’ perceptions about the use of new textbooks, teaching approaches, and, more importantly, the uncertain changes in college entrance examinations. Three types of teachers with different emotions and professional identities are identified in the reform (i.e., the losing heart accommodators, the drifting followers, and the cynical performers). These findings highlight the Chinese perspective on teacher emotion and provide some implications for the management of curriculum reform and teacher emotion in the Chinese context.


Teacher emotion Professional identity Curriculum reform Senior secondary education China