“They have it better there”

Chinese immigrant teachers’ beliefs, ideologies and imaginaries in cross-national comparisons

Haiqin Liu*, Fred Dervin, Huiling Xu, Robyn Moloney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper was written in response to a growing need to address the perceptions and experiences of immigrant teachers. Based on a critical intercultural theoretical perspective, which moves beyond typical “culture shock” and “adaptation” models of understanding and explaining immigrants’ experiences, this paper makes use of the concepts of teacher beliefs, ideologies and imaginaries (Holliday, 2010) in considering how Finland-based Chinese immigrant teachers perceive the position of being teachers of Chinese in Finland and Australia. An analysis of data from group discussions during a teacher training workshop indicates that these teachers constructed a “utopia” (Australia) and “dystopia” (Finland) of Chinese language teaching, and reveals that multiple factors have influenced these immigrant teachers’ perceptions and experiences. Findings provide information for teacher educators and stakeholders to better understand and support immigrant teachers from various linguistic and cultural backgrounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-479
Number of pages27
JournalFrontiers of Education in China
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019


  • Chinese immigrant teachers
  • professional development
  • discourses
  • teachers’ beliefs
  • ideologies
  • imaginaries

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