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Voicing, negotiating and reframing standardised teaching and learning for literacy: A comparative case-study of dialogues with early career teachers

Gardiner, V.ORCID: 0000-0002-8638-5487 (2019) Voicing, negotiating and reframing standardised teaching and learning for literacy: A comparative case-study of dialogues with early career teachers. In: Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) 2019, 1 - 5 December 2019, Kelvin Grove Campus, QUT, Brisbane.


Current educational reforms in Australia clearly prioritise the politicised need to lift student performance on broadscale, standardised assessments. At both national and state-levels, these reforms emerge from increasingly neoliberal policy-making. Under this neoliberal influence, experienced and early career teachers (ECTs) are responsible for aligning professional and student learning to the production of measured improvements. However, many scholars of education point to such alignment as leading to narrowed situated constructions of literacy, teaching and learning, and student diversity. A convincing body of empirical research reports associated trends towards traditional rather than contemporary pedagogies, and reduced responsiveness to linguistic and sociocultural diversities. To explore how Western Australian ECTs perceive and negotiate literacies teaching and professional learning against the current policy backdrop, the present study fostered a series of 'café' dialogues with ECTs in metropolitan, regional and remote locations. Adopting a qualitative comparative case-study approach, the study highlights the dynamic ways in which ECTs construed and navigated systemic discourses and arrangements, as well as local factors.

Through layered analyses, ECT 'voicing' of perspectives, dilemmas, and pedagogical goals was mapped to Engeström's 'expansive learning' cycle, as well as processes of Multiliteracies pedagogical design. Findings illustrate that initially, ECT perceptions of student diversity, homogenisation and inclusion were strongly framed by structured and scripted literacy pedagogies perceived as school priorities. However, evidence also reflects how ECTs gradually questioned situated priorities, and sought to approximate aesthetic, expressive, and participatory possibilities for their own and other's learning. The study suggests that ECTs worked to reframe student and teacher diversity, and to counter deficit readings of their own professional capacities. This conference presentation will highlight key excerpts from 'café' dialogues, which illustrate ECT's evolving perceptions of context, and expansive learning. Frequently, these excerpts foreground how ECTs catalysed professional growth in spite of little systemic or institutional support. Implications emerge for the ways in which ECTs in Australia are helped or hindered to formulate socially just and inclusive notions of literacies and pedagogy.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Education
Conference Website:
Other Information: Symposium: Inclusive Literacy Practices? Critical reconstruction of literacy as an arena of for diversity and social justice
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