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Resisting a technical landscape: Qualitative research and critical pedagogy for literacy education

Cumming-Potvin, W.ORCID: 0000-0002-4961-9379 (2012) Resisting a technical landscape: Qualitative research and critical pedagogy for literacy education. In: Association for Qualitative Research Conference (AQR/DPR) 2012, 23 - 25 August 2012, Charles Darwin University, Darwin


Although there is disagreement about what constitutes good educational research (Yates, 2002), the focus has often been on methodology rather than the well-being of students, teachers and communities (Hostetler, 2005). The predominance of procedure over ethics has also been observed in contemporary educational discourse, correlating academic outcomes with teacher accountability and test-driven curricula (Kincheloe & Steinberg, 2007). Woven into the educational landscape of many post-industrialized countries, including Australia, this focus on professional standards can camouflage qualitative aspects of schools, impacting negatively on teachers’ development (Tuinamuana, 2011) and research. In such environments, weekly professional instruction for increasing standardized test scores is not uncommon, and the role of educational research has become increasingly aligned to improving teachers’ technical competencies. As the Australian political climate melds with standardized testing, literacy education is characterized by the quest for excellence in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development results. Paradoxically, this back-to-basics reasoning is juxtaposed against a post-modern reality of deepening sociocultural diversity, which demands a complex approach to researching, learning and teaching a range of literacy practices (Cumming-Potvin, in press). Recounting a tertiary journey of subtle resistance to a technical approach in literacy education, this paper describes how groups of pre-service teachers and post-graduate students were afforded learning opportunities to integrate qualitative research with reflection and teaching practice. Processes incorporating critical pedagogy (Freire, 1970) and multiliteracies (The New London Group, 2000) aimed to unite theory with practice.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
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