Date of Award

Spring 5-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Lilia D. Monzó

Second Advisor

Suzanne SooHoo

Third Advisor

Doug Havard


This study explored the relationship between China’s market-driven policies and instruction in a higher vocational college. I applied a critical lens to examine low-quality teaching and learning in a broad social context, aiming to reveal that instructional problems should not unilaterally ascribe to individuals such as teachers and students. The theoretical framework of this research was Marxist philosophy and Freirean critical pedagogy. I adopted a qualitative case study in a department of China’s private vocational college to clarify three questions: What are the department’s market-driven policies? How do market-driven policies impact department members’ relationships? How do members of the department respond to market-driven policies? The findings of the paper were as follows: education in the researched department was a means of business under the impact of market-driven policies; the department members were alienated as a response to the context, which was consistent with Marxism and Freirean theory; the members were aware of their dehumanization and were suffering from banking education, while they lacked praxis to transform this unequal situation. In other words, the department strengthened the banking model that Freire severely criticized. I argued that the banking model was socially constructed by three powers: market-oriented policies, the government’s authoritative leadership, and Confucian culture. The study suggests that teachers and students likely developed a raised critical consciousness and recognized the need to reform vocational education; this was garnered given that they seemed to comprehend that teaching and learning are heavily influenced by society rather than personal reasons. In conclusion, I advocate developing critical pedagogy in China.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Available for download on Monday, May 12, 2025