Education reforms underpinned by neo-liberal values have been criticised for bringing an adverse impact on teachers’ professional identity. This article presents a qualitative study of teachers’ professional identity in three historical periods in Hong Kong: Phase 1: 1965–84; Phase 2: 1984–97; and Phase 3: the post-1997 period. By juxtaposing the systemic narratives against the work life narratives of 23 teachers, the study finds the manifestation of the perils of neo-liberal pressures on education in three themes of educational change in Hong Kong: (1) the changing structural conditions of the teaching career; (2) the changing nature of teachers’ work; and (3) the changing nature of educational change. The article concludes by suggesting possibilities to counteract neo-liberal pressures on education with the preservation, reclamation and renewal of teachers’ ‘student-focused’ professional identity grounded on teachers’ moral agency. Copyright © 2011 Teacher Development.
CitationTang, S. Y. F. (2011). Teachers’ professional identity, educational change and neo-liberal pressures on education in Hong Kong. Teacher Development, 15(3), 363-380.
- Teacher professional identity
- Teachers’ work
- Periodisation of educational change
- Informed agency