10 SES 04 D, Research on Values, Beliefs & Understandings in Teacher Education
History Education has been a battleground of public debates since the democratization of Taiwan in the 1990s. As the state continues to use the official name the "Republic of China" without declaring independence from China (People's Republic of China), Taiwan's history textbooks have been evasive about its national identity. Since 2002 students began learning about Taiwanese History along with Chinese History before college education. Both histories are linear history, hence creating in students potentially two national historical consciousness. Pre-service teachers who were born in late1990s had received both Taiwanese History and Chinese History in their school curricula, in addition to World History. However, as the divide between China and Taiwan grew, so was the change of the history curricula. In September 2019, a New National Social Studies Guideline will be put into practice for grade 9-12 students. The new History Curriculum would still have the outlook of Taiwanese History, Chinese History, and World History, but the Chinese History would place China in the context of East Asia or narrating from a regional perspective, rather than in a China-centered perspective.
Given this context, one wonders what kinds of historical consciousness pre-service history teachers have and if they would support the change. The fact is that in higher education, Chinese History remains a major area of study and pre-service teachers are required to study Chinese History for teacher certification. The research questions for this study are: What is pre-service history teachers’ historical consciousness? Whether or not they believe in the teaching of Taiwanese, Chinese or any national identity, and how they are going to teach it to students?
The theoretical framework and research literature for this study is teacher belief about national identity teaching and its controversy. And, I will provide in Taiwan's case how pre-service teachers think about the alternative way to teach students their identity.
This study used qualitative and descriptive quantitative methods to explore the research questions. 33 preservice history teachers from 11 public and private universities in different parts of Taiwan were interviewed for their beliefs about history teaching. The design made sure that both public and private TE institutions were selected, and different areas of institutions were represented. The structured interview data were analyzed and teacher beliefs were categorized not just according to the questions the researcher put forward, but through the pattern that emerged from the data also. Descriptive quantification was also used to yield insights about the proportion of pre-service teachers' views. Cross-examination would find a certain pattern of teacher difference.
The result shows that 88% of interviewees believe that it is important to teach students about their national identity, however, only 9% of preservice teachers would directly teach students Taiwanese national identity, 9% would teach land-related identity, and 79% believe that they should let students choose their own national identity. This shows that teaching specific kind of national identity continues to be a controversial idea in Taiwan. The study also finds that pre-service history teachers hold Taiwanese consciousness and Chinese consciousness. 33% of interviewees agree and 67% disagree with the Chinese ethnic lineage statement that Taiwanese are “the Descendants of Emperor Yan and Huang”. And, these two groups of pre-service teachers believe differently about what should be taught about Taiwanese History and Chinese History, showing distinctively different historical perspectives. Still, half of the interviewees (52%) believes that history education should cultivate students a sense of caring for the place that they grew up in. While the majority of the interviewees (79%) vowed that students should choose their own national identity, 52% of them adopted a “Caring about the Land” approach in their teaching. This approach appears to serve as a substitute for the teaching of identity and is mostly adopted by those with Taiwanese consciousness. For those pre-service history teachers with Chinese historical consciousness, identity teaching is not actively pursued. History teaching is never neutral. Teacher educators need to help explore and clarify the underlying beliefs and consciousness that pre-service teachers hold in order to for them to reason better how and why they teach history in a certain way. The implication for democratic education is discussed in this paper.
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