Teacher (in)discretion in international schools

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The topic of teacher autonomy has been extensively explored in state schools in the West. However, little research has been done on neoliberal discourses and notions of performativity within international schools. From the outside, it might seem that international schools are not subject to the ‘tyranny of performativity’ due to their relatively autonomous status outside of national education systems. However, I argue that technologies of performativity are reconfigured in international schools in relation to the sociocultural idiosyncrasies of the local context. In order to illustrate this, this paper focuses on three aspects of performativity in an international school in China - the International Baccalaureate (IB) accreditation process, the student appraisal system, and the school appraisal system. This paper ends by briefly proposing the notion of ‘teacher (in)discretion’ which is theorised as a form of resistance and refusal. Copyright © 2019 on_education.
Original languageEnglish
JournalOn education
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2019


Poole, A. (2019). Teacher (in)discretion in international schools. On education, 2(5). https://doi.org/10.17899/on_ed.2019.5.1


  • Teacher discretion
  • International schools
  • Performativity
  • Subjectivity
  • Identity


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