Language Teacher Autonomy and Social Censure

  • Xuesong Gao


Teacher autonomy has been acknowledged as central to teachers’ efforts to promote learner autonomy. However, language teachers’ exercise of autonomy has been increasingly undermined by shifting sociocultural conditions and educational reforms. Drawing on data collected in studies on teachers’ professional vulnerability, this chapter explores how language teachers’ autonomy and professional practices are undermined by bureaucratic management and marketization of education that drove various educational reform initiatives. These findings indicate that it has become critical for language teachers to address the challenge of social censure in pursuit of being autonomous language teachers. Further research is needed to collect teachers’ experiential narratives and deconstruct the sources of professional vulnerability in these narratives with them so that they can be better prepared for the challenge of being autonomous.


Teacher autonomy Social censure Professional vulnerability Paradox of power Agency Educational reforms 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xuesong Gao
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Education, University of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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