Beginning teachers as policy workers in Malaysia and New Zealand

Vivienne Ruth Anderson, Sharon Young, Keely Blanch, Lee Smith


In 2007, the Malaysia government initiated twinned primary teacher education arrangements with five Southern Hemisphere higher education institutions (HEIs). Participating students completed their teacher education in both Malaysia and a partner HEI. In this paper, we consider the preliminary findings of a comparative study tracking the beginning teacher journeys of 13 Malaysia based twinning programme graduates and six New Zealand based teachers. The study involved two aspects: (1) a comparative discourse analysis of key Malaysia and New Zealand education policy documents; and (2) thematic and discourse analysis of participants’ reflections on their early teaching experiences. Our focus is on beginning teachers as ‘policy workers’: policy subjects whose work is shaped and constrained by policy discourses and imperatives, and policy actors who mediate, translate and resist these. We compare the two policy contexts and consider how policy discourses appeared and were contested in teachers’ initial online questionnaire responses.


Malaysia; New Zealand; beginning teachers; education policy

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