Critical Pedagogy in Hong Kong: Classroom Stories of Struggle and Hope, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Critical Pedagogy in Hong Kong

Classroom Stories of Struggle and Hope, 1st Edition

By Carlos Soto


208 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138611801
pub: 2019-09-23
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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.

Table of Contents

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 ISS School

5. Curriculum at NTS: Setting the Stage for Resistance

6. The Complexities of Dialogue

7. Towards Critical Hope




About the Author

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.

About the Series

Education and Society in China

China’s economic rise has been breathtaking and unprecedented. Yet educational opportunities remain highly unequal. China has the essential ingredients to build a great system of education, but educational governance needs an overhaul if China is to realize its goal of dramatically boosting its technological output to world-class levels. As more work by established Chinese and overseas scholars becomes accessible in English to the larger global community, myths will be removed and replaced by more accurate and sophisticated analyses of China’s fascinatingly complex educational transformation. This series will provide highly analytical examinations of key issues in China’s education system.

Professor Gerard A. Postiglione is Associate Dean (Research), Chair Professor of Higher Education, Division of Policy, Administration and Social Sciences Education, as well as Director, Wah Ching Centre of Research on Education in China at the Faculty of Education, The University of Hong Kong.

In honor for his contribution and dedication to the field, Professor Postiglione will be inducted during the AERA 2016 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. as a 2016 AERA Fellow. We congratulate him on this high achievement -- a true reflection of his excellence, achievement and commitment to his work.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Secondary
EDUCATION / Teaching Methods & Materials / General