Four symbolic elements representing teaching challenges in china and qatar

Teaching Challenges with an IPGCE in China and Qatar: 4 Comparisons

Embarking on an International Postgraduate Certificate in Education (IPGCE) journey in a foreign country can be an exciting yet challenging endeavour. The cultural, educational, and societal differences in each country can significantly impact the teaching experience. This blog post will delve into the teaching challenges associated with an IPGCE in two distinct countries: China and Qatar. We’ll explore four key areas of comparison: cultural differences, language barriers, educational systems, and societal expectations.

Cultural Differences


China, with its rich history and diverse culture, presents a unique set of challenges for IPGCE teachers. The Confucian philosophy deeply ingrained in the Chinese culture values respect for authority and elders. This can sometimes lead to a passive learning environment where students are less likely to question or challenge their teachers. For educators accustomed to a more interactive teaching style, this can be a significant adjustment.

Moreover, the concept of ‘face’ or ‘mianzi’ is crucial in Chinese society. This can sometimes make it difficult for teachers to provide constructive criticism without causing embarrassment or losing respect.


On the other hand, Qatar, a country deeply rooted in Islamic traditions, also presents unique cultural challenges. Teachers must be mindful of religious customs and practices, such as prayer times and fasting during Ramadan, which can affect the school schedule and student performance.

Furthermore, the high value placed on community and family in Qatari culture can sometimes blur the boundaries between school and home life. Teachers may find themselves involved in family matters or community events, which can add an extra layer of complexity to their role.

Language Barriers


While English is taught in most Chinese schools, the proficiency levels can vary greatly. This can pose a challenge for IPGCE teachers, particularly in communicating complex concepts or engaging in in-depth discussions. Additionally, the tonal nature of the Chinese language can make learning and pronunciation difficult for foreign teachers.


Similarly, in Qatar, while English is widely spoken, Arabic is the official language. This can create communication barriers, particularly with parents or community members who may not be proficient in English. Furthermore, understanding the nuances and complexities of the Arabic language can be a steep learning curve for foreign teachers.

Educational Systems


The Chinese educational system is highly competitive, with a strong emphasis on examinations and academic achievement. This can create a high-pressure environment for both students and teachers. Furthermore, the curriculum is often rigid, leaving little room for creativity or flexibility in teaching methods.


Qatar’s educational system, on the other hand, is undergoing significant reform, with a shift towards more student-centred learning. However, this transition can present challenges as teachers, students, and parents adjust to the new approach. Additionally, the emphasis on rote learning in the traditional Qatari education system can sometimes conflict with more interactive and exploratory teaching methods.

Societal Expectations


In China, teachers are highly respected and are expected to act as moral guides for their students. This can place a heavy burden on teachers, who are not only responsible for their students’ academic success but also their moral and social development.


In Qatar, teachers are also held in high regard and are expected to uphold the values and traditions of the Qatari society. This can sometimes lead to cultural clashes or misunderstandings, particularly for teachers from different cultural backgrounds.

In conclusion, teaching with an IPGCE in China and Qatar presents unique challenges due to cultural differences, language barriers, educational systems, and societal expectations. However, with cultural sensitivity, flexibility, and a willingness to learn, these challenges can be transformed into opportunities for personal and professional growth.

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