Category Archives: Language Teacher Education

Empathy vs sympathy

‘Emaphty’ has been used often over the last few years. This short article may give a understanding of this concept.


Activating empathy: Language teacher education through a Chinese course

Mr. Weiming Liu & Dr. Ann Devitt


The qualitative research project reported here provided a description of part of a language teacher education programme. The role of empathy was emphasised as an attribute in 16 trainee-teachers’ professional development through a Chinese language taster course. Chinese was chosen as an exotic language. Peer teaching was implemented in order to maximise trainee-teachers’ engagement in the course. The project was designed to increase trainee-teachers’ awareness of their school pupils’ learning activities and strengthen their attachment to their pupils. Trainee-teachers’ empathetic development involved their motivational reasoning, affective empathy and cognitive empathy. Data sources in the current paper included student weekly reflective journals and final group reports. The authors attempted to attest the activation of empathy as an approach to language teacher education and examine the rationale for choosing Chinese in such a setting. The results from this project also suggested the possibility of creating contexts in which Chinese language teachers may exercise their empathetic dispositions.

Keywords: Empathy, Peer Teaching, Chinese Language, Language Teacher Education


Mr. Weiming Liu & Dr. Ann Devitt


关键词:汉语教师培训  行动研究法  反思  转化学习理论

The role of students in a power sharing context: A study of the development of a Chinese teacher’s identity

Mr. Weiming Liu & Dr. Ann Devitt


The study reported here introduced an action research project on the enforcement or reconstruction of different aspects of a Chinese classroom teacher’s identity as a teacher. The project was carried out over a period of three years. Classroom power relations were central to this research project. They were represented by the collaboration between the teacher and students, and between students. As an essential component of the project, students carried out both peer teaching and made on-going reflection on the teacher’s teaching. Data sources included student weekly reflective journals and final group reports. The authors hoped to explore the teacher’s professional development and propose the possibility to optimise other Chinese teachers’ contribution to language classes in collaboration with their students.

Keywords:ClassroomPower Relations, Peer Teaching, Teacher Identity, Action Research

Autonomous learners and transformative practitioners: the implementation of peer teaching in a language teacher training course (abstract)

Mr. Weiming Liu & Dr. Ann Devitt

The study reported here was conducted as part of a programme of initial teacher education for post-primary modern language (ML) teachers at the School of Education, Trinity College in Dublin. The ML programme requires that the student teachers (STs) learn an exotic language, which is currently represented by a five weeks’ Chinese language course. The rationale for this Chinese course is to help STs to gain a better understandings of their pupils’ learning process. Peer teaching has been adapted into different schemes over the last few decades. Collaborative peer teaching (CPT) supports and maximises the engagement of all students in their learning process. In 2011, CPT was implemented throughout the Chinese course. STs were required to write both weekly reflective journals and final reports, from which the data of this study are collected. This paper introduces how CPT was implemented in this context, and aims to find out the significance of its implementation in terms of both STs’ personal development as autonomous learners and their professional development as transformative practitioners.

Keywords: Language Teacher Training, Peer Teaching, Learner Autonomy, Transformation

Link to abstract: