Emerging issues of teaching and social justice in Greater China: Neoliberalism and critical pedagogy in Hong Kong

Benjamin "Benji" CHANG, Peter MCLAREN

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

From the Americas to Asia, neoliberal policy restructuring continues to present major challenges to educational equity. In Hong Kong, teacher educators grapple with training students in pedagogy they believe in, versus the daily status quo of high-stakes exam prep, privatized "shadow education," and a system seemingly pushed to the brink of neoliberal social efficiency. Indeed, in recent years, Hong Kong has recorded top rankings on the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study and the Programme for International Student Assessment, along with record-setting protests and student suicides. Like in the USA, neoliberalization of teacher education in Hong Kong has proffered dilemmas of standardized curricula, evaluation, and licensure, often under the guise of "21st century skills and technology." Both regions also face perpetual threats of being under- or de-funded, based on "data-driven" decision-making and leadership that are supposedly more accountable and efficient. Unsurprisingly, neoliberal policies and practices have often exacerbated inequities in teaching and learning, especially for communities labelled as minority or working-class. Within traditions of critical pedagogy, this article's authors engage in a discussion on how educators and students are navigating the neoliberal behemoth and developing more inclusive spaces across local contexts of language, class, and culture. Based on the authors' research in the Americas and Greater China, this article interrogates some of the junctures and ruptures of neoliberal education in Hong Kong, long-held as bridge between "East" and "West." The article draws from the first author Benji Chang's action research projects with pre-and in-service teachers in the region, which examines how they are critiquing and challenging dominant discourses of neoliberalism (e.g., positivism, standardization, and market-economy), and what brings hope. Given Hong Kong's history of colonization with Europe and the USA, and the ever-expanding dominance of mainland China, this article makes a contribution to international scholarship concerned with teacher education and social justice. Copyright © 2018 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)781-803
JournalPolicy Futures in Education
Volume16
Issue number6
Early online dateApr 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2018

Fingerprint

neoliberalism
social justice
Hong Kong
China
Teaching
teacher
education
educator
curriculum evaluation
mathematics studies
PISA study
positivism
student
science studies
colonization
market economy
working class
action research
suicide
protest

Citation

Chang, B. B., & McLaren, P. (2018). Emerging issues of teaching and social justice in Greater China: Neoliberalism and critical pedagogy in Hong Kong. Policy Futures in Education, 16(6), 781-803. doi: 10.1177/1478210318767735

Keywords

  • Education policy
  • Chinese education
  • Critical pedagogy
  • Teacher preparation
  • Educational equity
  • Curriculum