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Examining the paradoxes children experience in language and literacy learning

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AbstractParadoxes are particularly problematic in literacy as they often complicate learning. However, identifying and examining them can also tell us something about the inherent problems within social, political, and educational systems. This paper reports on an analysis of a total of 205 AJLL articles and editorials, published between 2011 and 2021. The purpose of the study was to identify the paradoxes associated with student language and literacy learning. The systematic literature review identified 311 instances of paradoxes across these 205 articles. Thirty instances of paradoxical terminology associated with student literacy learning were selected from the 311 instances. The excluded 271 instances of paradox were associated with policy contexts, teacher performance, and accountabilities, which are outside the scope of this article. The research in the 205 articles found that literacy learning was shaped by the skills of literacy learning, the complexity of student learning through standardised approaches, and textual plurality. The contexts of literacy learning spanned the virtual and real, the implications of national testing on local situations, and the changing nature of text and what it means to be literate. This review identified that students negotiate paradoxes associated with the risks of standardised testing, the narrowing of the writing curriculum, and understanding the variety of textual forms and practices. Identifying and examining these paradoxes will help address some of the persistent problems in literacy learning faced by students and teachers.



Australian Journal of Language and Literacy


1 - 16




Berlin, Germany







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal