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It makes you realize, really, just how deep your subtext is : Literature, subjectivity and curriculum change
journal contributionposted on 2001-08-01, 00:00 authored by Catherine BeavisCatherine Beavis
This paper draws on the notion of discourse to explore complex relationships between teachers and curriculum change. It uses poststructuralist views of discourse to explore ways in which school subjects, such as Literature, are discursively constructed across time, while teachers too are positioned within discourses that shape the ways they understand the subject and themselves as teachers of it. This paper reports on the experience of a small group of teachers of a new literature course in the Australian state of Victoria. Nine teachers were interviewed over 3 years, and the interview transcripts read for traces of discourses formative in shaping their response to the new course. I identified three discourses: Leavisite and New Critical formations of the subject Literature; charismatic pedagogy; and critical theory, which was embodied in the new subject's study design. These 3 discourses, together with the traditions and culture of the school, form the framework for analysis of the interviews. The paper explores ways in which the teachers' positioning within this mix of discourses and settings variously supported or undermined their preparedness to accept new configurations of the subject Literature as well as the implications of curriculum change not just for constructions of the subject but also for teacher subjectivity.