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Teaching other people’s children, elsewhere, for a while: the rhetoric of a travelling educational reform

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Viv Ellis, Meg Maguire, Tom Are Trippestad, Yunqiu Liu, Xiaowei Yang, Kenneth Zeichner

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-80
Issue number1
Early online date20 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2016


  • Teaching other people’s children_ELLIS_Accepted 22Jun2015_GOLD VoR

    Teaching_other_people_s_children_ELLIS_Accepted_22Jun2015_GOLD_VoR.pdf, 1.41 MB, application/pdf


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    © 2015 The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis.
    This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (,
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King's Authors


Teach for All is a good example of a globally travelling educational reform policy. In this article, we examine the rhetoric of the reform through an analysis of its public discourse, specifically the websites for the umbrella organization, 3 of its 35 constituent projects (Teach for America, Teach First and Teach for China) and one associated project (Teach First Norway). The analysis focuses on the rhetorical production of teaching as something done to other people’s children, in places apart from and outside the communities and schools of dominant populations, and for a while only – as a short-term mission rather than what is usually understood as a professional career. We argue that the principal motive underlying Teach for All’s rhetoric is the cultivation of a cadre of leaders and a form of neoliberal social entrepreneurship that it claims will solve the problem of ‘broken’ societies, public services and, specifically, schools.

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