The global discourse of quality management has affected teacher professional work, skills, identities and autonomy (Hargreaves & Goodson, 1996; Mårtensson, Roxå, & Stensaker, 2014; Field, 2015). In Vietnam, the government has placed teacher quality high on the agenda, reflected in a number of newly introduced policies stipulating professional knowledge and skills standards. Focusing on university English language teachers, this study investigates the notion of ‘professionalism’ as it is presented in contemporary higher education policies in Vietnam. Viewing policy as discourse (Ball, 1993; Bacchi, 2000), the paper deconstructs ‘professionalism’ and reveals the politics behind its articulation in five major national-level policies that currently apply to English language academics. The findings indicate that a new kind of professionalism is being constructed – one that puts increasing demand upon teachers to take on new responsibilities not only within the classroom but also ! as responsive members of society. At the same time, there is a more pronounced presence of professional ELT groups in the development of these policies, calling English teachers to act with adaptive expertise and take charge of their work. The study thus suggests ‘professionalism’ is not constructed by one single group that holds power (i.e. government); rather, it results from an interaction between economic, political, cultural, and occupational discourses. This interaction of internal and external pressures, in the context of globalisation, forms an ecology system (Weaver-Hightower, 2008) and illustrates the relationship between the logics of bureaucracy, the market, and professionalism (Freidson, 2001). As such, the study provides another empirical insight into how different stakeholders engage in teacher quality policy discourse in an Asian nation, adding to prior discussions set in, for example, the US and European contexts (West, 2015; Spratt & Moscardini, 2015). Its findings also have implications for the design and development of teacher policies at both national and institutional levels.
Teacher Education Policy in Europe Network 2016, 2016.
‘Teacher Education from a Global Perspective’, Teacher Education Policy in Europe (TEPE) network, University of Malta, 19-21 May 2016.