Over policy-makers are serious about improving student performance (Bullough,

the last two decades, our public education systems have undergone profound
changes as part of neo-liberal and neoconservative political reforms (Hursh,
2005:1). Neo-liberalism remains
a hazy term however, Ross & Gibson define
neo-liberalism (2007) as `a complex of
values, ideologies and practices that affect the economic, political and
cultural aspects of society` (Ross & Gibson, 2007:1). Adding to this Rustin states that although it appears to
name an ideology it is also used to refer to the entire post-1980 capitalist
system which it dominates (Rustin, 2016:153). Neo-liberal ideas have led
to many school reform policies being implemented which include `the regulation
of the curriculum, standardised tests to hold students, teachers and schools
accountable, to increase school choice, and to privatise education provision`
(Hursh, 2005: 1). Meanwhile, teachers must contend with the deterioration in
public education, since they are restricted by policy reforms, which require educators
to follow preferred ways of teaching, meaning educators become isolated from
decision making, which is partly why implementing more engaged pedagogy and
inheriting love and care in their practice is not an easy process.

The intention is to prepare students to fit into
the existing neo-liberalism society, a society that believes education should
be performance driven, and that the sole purpose of education is to prepare
pupil`s for the competitive workforce to sustain the capitalist economy
(Rustin, 2016: 149). Noddings claims that competition between schools rarely
produces better academic results and concludes that competition should be
abandoned as an outdated “20th-century ideal” (Noddings, 2013:1). However,
Noddings seems to ignore competitions role in modern life and the notion of
eliminating competition runs contrary to neoliberal values which involve improving
one’s self as a means of social movement. Moreover, Bullough, (2008) claims
student well-being and teacher-wellbeing must be linked and consistently
supported if policy-makers are serious about improving student performance
(Bullough, 2008). From my perspective, neo-liberalism has resulted in an
overemphasis on teacher efficacy as opposed to learner development, leaving
pupils un-engaged and education with an absence of emotion to teaching and

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