World culture and experienced primary school teachers’ understandings of educational changes in Taiwan

Jan. 15, 2008

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education, Volume 24, Issue 1, January 2008, Pages 26-42

Studies by neo-institutionalists in sociology suggest that the institutions, organizations and governing rules in the environment are becoming more similar worldwide as the process of globalization continues. A so-called ‘world culture’ based on science was hypothesized to explain the phenomena related to standardization and convergence. While world culture theory paints a converging material world, an interesting issue is how the environment affects people's inner worlds.

This paper investigates Taiwan's experienced teachers’ experiences and perceptions of educational changes to illuminate this issue. Using a qualitative method ‘Portraiture’ to understand the six participants’ values, worldviews and ways of thinking, the researcher finds that most participants adapt certain abstract world culture ideals and norms compatible with their own values. They developed respect for the value of equality and an increasing awareness of a global society. But they also had undergone major moral transformation and growth, and became more aware of the importance of moral and life education. These inner changes may be interpreted as their responses or reactions to the recent social trends or institutional norms that emphasize scientific rules and worldviews.

Updated: Feb. 10, 2008