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Learning to teach English in Hong Kong: effects of the changeover in sovereigntyUrmston, Alan (University of BedfordshireUniversity of Bedfordshire, 2003-07)Teachers undergo changes in their beliefs, knowledge and practices on an individual level as they learn how to teach. If society undergoes significant change, as Hong Kong did during the transition from British to Chinese rule in 1997, then social groups within society such as teachers are likely to react to change in different and complex ways. The purpose of this investigation is to exam.ine the changes experienced by teachers of English in Hong Kong, with a focus on teachers who received their teacher preparation at one Hong Kong institution during the final years leading up to the transition. The educational, linguistic, social and political context of Hong Kong is first described through a study of the research literature and a number of theories and models of change are presented through which the findings of the investigation are analysed. The main sources of data for the investigation consist of questionnaire responses, interview transcriptions and lesson observation reports of trainee English teachers during and after graduation from a BA course in TESL at a Hong Kong university. The main conclusions of the investigation are: (i) Educational issues and particularly those affecting ELT became more high-profile and politicised in the lead up to and after the changeover. (ii) English teachers in Hong Kong experience conflict between their desired approaches and the realities and constraints of the Hong Kong teaching context. These constraints provide a common justification for lack of innovative behaviour and make it possible for teachers to put off being innovative in the classroom indefinitely. (iii) At the same time, English teachers in Hong Kong are becoming more empowered within the educational system in reaction to challenges to their competency and as they have realised that they can affect educational policy through individual and collective action. The findings suggest that colonial discourses as documented by Pennycook (1998) of English language teaching still persist in Hong Kong, as they have been shown to do in other post-colonial societies, and Hong Kong is undergoing a post-handover period of change as it struggles to synthesise the educational legacies of the colonial period with new initiatives adopted to address Hong Kong's changing educational and social needs. The results of the research are developed into an original model of the factors impacting English language education in Hong Kong. The generic model is then elaborated in two versions, one of which applies before the changeover and the other after it.