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This chapter provides a rationale for viewing teacher professionalism in the global South in its wider sociocultural and economic context, with due attention to the colonial experience and ongoing condition of ‘coloniality’ which continues to shape education. In the global education policy space, dominant models of teacher professionalism are grounded in the assumptions and agendas of Northern actors and institutions. It is argued that understandings of teacher professionalism should be grounded in the perspectives, experiences and conditions of teachers in low- and middle-income countries in the global South. The chapter introduces Ndlovu-Gatsheni’s understanding of ‘coloniality’, which will be used to frame the analysis and arguments in later chapters.

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