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How primary early career teachers perceive and shape literacies teaching and learning: A comparative case study

Gardiner, VeronicaORCID: 0000-0002-8638-5487 (2018) How primary early career teachers perceive and shape literacies teaching and learning: A comparative case study. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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What do we really know about the literacies teaching and learning experiences of early career teachers (ECTs)? In Western Australia, as in other Australian states, ECTs are impacted by neoliberal policy reforms pursuing standardised and didactic literacy teaching and learning. Many scholars argue that such reforms impoverish literacies learning for both teachers and students. To explore how ECTs perceive and shape literacies teaching and learning in these policy conditions, the present author facilitated a series of café based discussions. During interactions, ECTs reflected on their professional work over two calendar years, in metropolitan, regional and remote schools. Adopting a comparative case study approach, ECT meaning making was framed by interweaving the content and pedagogical Design focus of Multiliteracies Theory (Bull & Anstey, 2010; Cope & Kalantzis, 2013; Garcia, Luke & Seglem, 2018; New London Group, 2000), and the expansive learning schema derived from Cultural Historical Activity Theory (Engestrom, 2001, 2011). The interpretive approach integrated visual topic mapping, critical discourse analysis, and identification of emergent correspondences between pedagogical Design and expansive learning processes.

Key findings highlight, that across the groups, possibilities for ECTs' teaching and learning for literacies in schools were constrained by pervasive promotion of routinised and componential approaches to reading and writing, and commercially driven professional development and literacy resourcing. Becoming increasingly insightful about limitations in these policy aligned priorities and conditions, the ECTs responded over time by questioning, resisting and in some cases innovating Available Designs in lieu of contradictory professional goals. In the main, this innovation took place in the absence of systemic or school based support. Such results conflict with deficit readings of ECT learning articulated in current policies. Implications may be of interest to school leaders, policy writers, teacher educators and other teachers wishing to support participatory teaching and learning for literacies.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Education
Supervisor(s): Cumming-Potvin, Wendy
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