1st Edition

Teachers’ Journeys into International School Teaching in China Exploring Motivations and Mobilities

By Adam Poole Copyright 2024
    114 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Poole’s book illuminates the experiences and perspectives of host country national teachers at internationalised schools in China. The international school sector in China has undergone significant changes in recent years. This is due to the growing demand for international education from local middle-class families. In response, a new type of school has emerged. Going by various names, such as private, bilingual, or internationalised, these schools offer a fusion of national and international curricula and are staffed predominantly by host country national teachers.

    Despite these changes, we still know little about who host country national teachers are and what draws them to the world of international schooling. Accordingly, this book explores the motivations and mobilities of host country national teachers in China. It identifies three types of teacher: Returners, Reachers, and Remainers. Returners are graduates who have returned to China from overseas study. They are drawn to international schools by the opportunity to use their international experience and qualification. Reachers are internal migrants who face structural inequality and attracted to international schools by the opportunity for social mobility. Remainers are married teachers with children. They are motivated to work in international schools by the perceived stability and security these schools offer.

    Discussing implications for teacher recruitment, development, and retention in international schools, this book is an essential read for international educational researchers as well as students researching international education or teacher identity.

    1. Planning: packing key conceptual and methodological tools for the journey ahead  2. Departure: travelling through the changing international school landscape in China  3. Arrival: considering the motivations and mobilities of Returners, Reachers, and Remainers  4. Return: constructing a typology of host country national teachers


    Adam Poole is an assistant professor in the Department of Education Policy and Leadership, Faculty of Education and Human Development, The Education University of Hong Kong. His research interests include international schooling, professional learning for language teachers, and the funds of identity approach.

    Another superb publication from Adam Poole, whose original and thought-provoking work I have been following for some years now. With this new book, Poole urges us to look at the 'realities' of host country national teachers in a different light, questioning dominating concepts and voices in education research while privileging ‘bricolage’ from both China and the ‘West’. Poole’s book is a great example of decoloniality that will stimulate further critical research on teacherhood in international schools

    Professor Fred Dervin, Professor of multicultural education, Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki

    This is a timely and significant contribution to the international school literature. Host country national teachers are a growing presence in international schools in China, but to date they have received little scholarly attention. This book sheds light on the motivations of these teachers in a refreshing and engaging manner. It will be of interest to postgraduate students coming to the field of international schooling for the first time, as well as more experienced scholars wishing to update their knowledge about international schooling in China.

    Dr. Qin Yunyun, Assistant Professor, The Graduate School of Education, Beijing Foreign Studies University

    This book offers an in-depth and constructive insight into the nature of the complex international schooling scene in China. Readers will find the book to be a useful reference to understanding the growth of international schools in China, and the type of educator that is getting involved. Moreover, the focus on host-nation teachers is both original and important. Overall, this is a compelling read, offering fresh perspectives and insights.

    Dr. Tristan Bunnell, Senior Lecturer, University of Bath