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Multiliteracies book club: A participatory context for Australian public primary school teachers to negotiate literacy

Gardiner, Veronica (2014) Multiliteracies book club: A participatory context for Australian public primary school teachers to negotiate literacy. Masters by Research thesis, Murdoch University.

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This study aimed to explore and influence how Australian public primary school teachers evolve literacy understandings and perspectives, in relation to rapidly changing twenty--‐first century communication. Acknowledging a variety of theoretical commentary and research literature, the study argues that Australian literacy teaching and learning is currently oriented towards standardised and print--‐focused approaches, inscribed on teachers’ pedagogies through transmissive professional learning and print--‐oriented curriculum reform. As an alternative, the present research drew on a theoretical framework incorporating multiliteracies theory, community of practice theory and critical perspectives on professional learning, to explore how discourses of multiliteracies can be fostered in a teacher book club involving multimodal texts.

A qualitative case study explored a small group of seven public primary school teachers’ voiced perspectives about literacy and professional learning, and how they participated in facilitated multiliteracies knowledge processes, during five monthly book club meetings. To interpret teachers’ evolving perspectives and knowledge/s and changing social participation in the book club, critical discourse analysis was applied to chronological transcripts of discursive data. The analysis highlighted how these seven teachers identified constraints on multiliteracies pedagogy in the wider educational context, and engaged in recursive and collaborative negotiation of multiliteracies discourse. In particular, analysis showcased four teachers’ emerging orientation to self--‐sourced digital texts and shifts to peer--‐led collaborative inquiry. During final reflective discussion, three teachers associated responsive opportunities in the book club with their expanded conception of literacy and interest--‐ driven professional learning. Findings of this study support theorised relationships between multiliteracies and community of practice processes. Additionally, interpretive discussion elaborates how these teachers shaped book club experiences around peer--‐relevant needs and interests, by recruiting intercontextual resources. Together, results indicate that the book club format fosters teachers’ participatory professional learning for multiliteracies.

Publication Type: Thesis (Masters by Research)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
Supervisor: Cumming-Potvin, Wendy
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