Reaching for the gold standard: Metaphors and good university teachers

Lixian Jin, Martin Cortazzi

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


This article considers "good"teachers in the context of current developments in universities in China to reach a "gold standard"of considerably higher and more challenging levels of teaching and learning. We outline this context and consider concepts of good teachers in classical Chinese traditions and more recent Western thinking as a possible dialogue within and between cultures of learning. Using cognitive and cultural linguistic perspectives, we analyze metaphorical concepts of "gold"in "the gold standard"as related to teachers. We report our applied metaphor research which analyzes Chinese students' expectations, values and beliefs about good university language teachers; this presents a rich picture beyond developing knowledge, skills and understanding to include strong social and moral characteristics. Other aspects which recognize the complexity of "good"teachers show a student appreciation of teachers' tireless effort, devotion and selfless sacrifice: these aspects are absent in many discussions of good teachers. The participant-centered picture from elicited metaphor analysis is part of students' "cultures of learning,"but this should be developed culturally for the gold standard through further teacher development and student engagement. In line with interaction in cultures of learning, we indicate some classroom ways to extend students' thinking through scaffolding teacher-student interaction based on textbook activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-149
Number of pages19
JournalChinese Journal of Applied Linguistics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


  • "good" teachers
  • elicited metaphor analysis
  • expected teacher characteristics
  • university Gold Standard

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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