Transnational knowledge transfer involves the exchange of theories, models and methods for academic or practical purposes among countries. The following paper is concerned with this process in the education domain. In particular, it focuses on problems arising out of the uncritical transfer of educational ideas and practices to the developing world. Firstly, the increasing awareness of the need to take cognisance of cultural realities when transferring educational knowledge across international boundaries is outlined. Secondly, the crucial importance of overseas educational consultants adopting such a perspective is illustrated through a consideration of a variety of difficulties experienced over the last 25 years with educational projects in a particular part of the developing world, namely, the South Pacific island nations. Thirdly, a case study on teacher education in one of the South pacific island nations, Papua New Guinea (PNG), illustrates that it is a perspective which can still be neglected today. The study focuses on the fact that the concept of the 'reflective teacher', at present enjoying popularity in the literature on teacher education in the developed world, has been transferred to PNG to become a central notion in the country's new three year programme for the pre-service education of community (primary) school teachers. The inappropriateness of such transfer at the present time is demonstrated through an analysis of the competencies of teacher's college lecturers.