Neo-liberal values have pervasive influence on education and teacher education around the globe. By analyzing findings from document analysis and interview with key policy actors as well as reviewing other academics’ work, this article examines the penetration of neo-liberal ideas through policy content, selection of policy instruments, process of policy production and policy outcomes in teacher education in Hong Kong. The study reveals that neo-liberal values have driven large-scale education reforms with English as a key concern and Government’s exertion of greater power to influence teacher education policy in the policy ecology. Regarding entry into teaching, the paradoxical policy content is manifested in the “open market” of teacher preparation, absence of regulatory mechanism in relation to professional standards yet mandatory requirements on language teachers. With the use of “economy” and “mandate” as policy instruments, the Government has exerted greater power to influence teacher education policy. The process of policy production associated with mandatory requirements for language teachers is characterized as a change of approach from “coercion” to “soft landing”. Policy outcomes, including preparation of language teachers and repercussions for the teaching profession, are discussed. While the Hong Kong case adds to understanding of the impact of neo-liberal values through linkages between global trend and local realities, it may provide a narrative for those in other contexts and countries to explore and reflect on local understandings of policy trajectories in teacher education. Copyright © 2014 De La Salle University.
CitationTang, S. Y. F. (2015). The creeping of neo-liberal influences into teacher education policy: The case of Hong Kong. The Asia Pacific Education Researcher, 24(2), 271-282.
- Teacher education policy
- Education policy
- English language teachers