The New Imperialist? The International teacher - becoming, gatekeeping and capital (re)production

  • James Hatch

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Education (EdD)


At present international schools continue to experience unprecedented growth. Offering elite, blue chip education, these schools, which were once the domains of elite expatriates, are now predominantly occupied by locals, many of whom seek access to Western universities and the global knowledge economy. Shifting demographics coupled with delivering a curriculum rooted in a Western tradition may suggest these schools constitute a new form of imperialism.While both the growth of such schools and their demand for teachers has led to increasing coverage within the mainstream and academic community, there remains a dearth of knowledge regarding teachers. It is into this space that the current study seeks to shed some light. In particular, it aims to explore why and how teachers become ‘international’, and the impact such development has on their praxis. It also seeks to explore how teachers, as front-line workers, position themselves within the discourse surrounding international schools as artificers of a global elite driven by a Western, globalist agenda.Utilising a mixed-methods approach, the study employs a methodology drawing upon theoretical frameworks developed by Foucault and Bourdieu. This dualist approach serves to not only extrapolate the origin of ideas and motivations that shape teachers’ praxis, it also seeks to understand this praxis in action.Findings suggest a teacher’s decision to pursue an international career is attributable to a variety of push/pull factors. Moreover, there is a need for a revision of praxis to better meet students’ needs and parental expectations. The evidence suggests that revising praxis is challenged by the opacity of key terms and assumptions within the field. Likewise, teachers employ a variety of approaches to learning and curriculum delivery that are explicitly cognizant not only of students’ cultural, national or ethnic background but also of their elite economic and social status.The study concludes with recommendations for further research.
Date of Award21 Apr 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorTristan Bunnell (Supervisor) & Hugh Lauder (Supervisor)


  • International Schools
  • teacher change
  • Foucault
  • Bourdieu
  • Teacher development
  • teacher identity
  • becoming
  • Teacher professionalism
  • reproducción social

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