Huiyin Li

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Scot Headley, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Susanna Thornhill, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Dane Joseph, Ph.D.


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to examine the micropolitical literacy of four former Chinese English Foreign Language (EFL) student teachers in handling conflicts during their practicum in Chinese urban practicum schools. Each participant graduated from an EFL teacher education program after their completion of practicum and worked as a school English teacher. The researcher sought to investigate the participants’ conflict experiences and how they made sense of and responded to the micropolitics of their practicum. This study utilized in-depth personal interviews to explore former student teachers’ practicum conflict experiences. Four major themes were identified in the analysis process of the study: a) All STs acquiesced in and demonstrated deference to the power differential between them and their mentors; (b) STs reported more negative emotions in conflicts with mentors than with their students; (c) Most STs felt the impact of the struggle between exam-oriented education and quality-oriented education; and (d) STs acknowledged their potential to influence their mentors, indicating practicum could be bilateral. Implications from the study suggest the importance of micropolitical literacy in student teachers’ smooth and successful navigation in practicum, highlight the need for teacher educators to assume a liberating view of their roles in practicum, and call for universities to incorporate micropolitics of school into curriculum.

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