1st Edition

Critical Pedagogy in Hong Kong Classroom Stories of Struggle and Hope

By Carlos Soto Copyright 2020
    200 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    200 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book chronicles the author’s application of critical pedagogy in Hong Kong secondary schools serving students from working-class families of South Asian heritage, so-called ‘ethnic minorities’ in the local context. Soto used concepts such as banking pedagogy, generative themes, liberatory dialogue, and transformative resistance, to first understand students’ school, online, and community experiences, and then to reshape his teaching of English and humanities subjects to address the students’ academic, social, and emotional needs.

    This critical ethnography is set against educational reforms in Hong Kong, which re-orientated schools towards developing a knowledge-economy workforce, increased privatization and competition in the school system, aimed to build national identification with China, and sought to address growing inequality in a territory known for wealth disparity. While these reforms opened opportunities for implementing student-centered pedagogies in schools and increased student access to tertiary education, ethnic minority youth faced ongoing economic and social marginalization on top of academic difficulties. The central narrative captures everyday struggles and contradictions arising from intersections of neoliberal reforms, institutional school histories, students’ transnational realities, and collective efforts for equity and social justice. In the course of the book a parallel story unfolds, as the author explores what it means to be a critical teacher and researcher, and is reborn in the process.

    The book’s ‘on the ground’ story is hopeful, yet tempered, in discussing the limits and possibilities for critical pedagogy. It will be of a great resource for researchers, teacher educators, and pre-service and in-service teachers who are interested in the topic.

    List of Figures and Tables
    List of Abbreviations

    1. The Students, the System, and the Teacher
    2. Critical Pedagogy: Rebirth in Theory and in Practice 
    3. Critical Ethnography and Dilemmas of a Teacher-Researcher
    4. Alienation, Pain, and Possibility at NTS School
    5. Curriculum at ISS: Setting the Stage for Resistance
    6. The Complexities of Dialogue 
    7. Towards Critical Hope



    Carlos Soto is a Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at the University of Hong Kong. Previously, he spent a decade working in the public and non-profit education sectors in the United States.