Deakin University
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Heteroglossia : a space for developing critical language awareness?

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conference contribution
posted on 2004-01-01, 00:00 authored by J Brown, Claire CharlesClaire Charles, Brenton DoeckeBrenton Doecke, Alex Kostogriz
This paper reports on research into the challenges of implementing a critical writing pedagogy within a teacher education program in Australia. Participants in this study are student teachers enrolled in a compulsory subject, ‘Language and Literacy in Secondary School’, a subject requiring them to develop a knowledge of the role of language and literacy across the secondary school curriculum and to show personal proficiency in literacy (this is dictated by state government specifications of graduate outcomes for teacher education programs). To develop an understanding of the way that language has shaped their lives, students write a narrative about their early literacy experiences – a task which they all find very challenging, especially in comparison with the formal writing of other university subjects. Rather than simply reminiscing about their early childhood, they are encouraged to juxtapose voices from the past and the present, and to combine a range of texts within their writing. They thereby create a heteroglossic text (Bakhtin, 1981) that stretches their repertoires as language users and enables them to develop a socially critical awareness of language and literacy, including the literacy practices in which they engage as university students. Later in the semester they revisit these accounts of their early literacy experiences, and (in a separate piece of writing) endeavour to place these accounts within the contexts of theories and debates they have encountered in the course of completing this unit.

The students’ writing provides a small window on how they are experiencing their tertiary education, including the managerial controls that are currently shaping university curriculum and pedagogy. Their writing also raises questions as to extent to which tertiary students are actually able to formulate a critical language awareness that will subsequently inform their professional practice as secondary teachers.



Australian Association for Research in Education. Conference (2004 : Melbourne, Victoria)


PANDORA electronic collection


1 - 13


Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE)


Melbourne, Victoria

Place of publication

Coldstream, Vic.

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Reproduced with kind permission of the copyright owner.

Publication classification

E1.1 Full written paper - refereed

Title of proceedings

AARE 2004 : Doing the public good : positioning educational research ; AARE 2004 International Education Research conference proceedings

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