Deakin University

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The teacher as digital writer? Conflicting identities addressed in pre-service curriculum design

journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-13, 00:41 authored by Lucinda McKnightLucinda McKnight
This paper provides a reflective account of the theory and design involved in re-writing an English method course for pre-service teachers to encourage them to think of themselves as digital rhetors, designers and producers. This process of curriculum revision moves beyond the remit of a new textbook for the course, Terry Locke’s Developing writing teachers: Practical ways for teacher-writers to transform their classroom practice (2015), and critiques its approach to digital writing as the “integration” of various discrete and bounded “technologies” such as wordprocessors, digital storytelling platforms and blog generators, as add-ons to the teaching of writing.
The paper argues that the notion of “digital” writing is redundant, that the term carves an on/offline binary that serves to reinforce the kinds of “conservative orthodoxies” in writing instruction described by Julian Sefton-Green. The revision of the course may be understood as a political project pursuing teacher autonomy, creativity and inclusivity via the capacity to work at local levels with students and their everyday texts/text-making practices; this has been an increasing challenge in Australia as various iterations of externally mandated curricula have circumscribed teacher professional identities, and reinstated “Literature”, rather than “text”, as central to the subject.
The presentation incorporates early discussion of data emerging from a 2018-1019 study funded by the Victorian Association for the Teaching of English, of the teaching of writing in Victoria. This study seeks to establish a typology of ideologies and practices in contemporary English teachers’ work. Sharing this data provides an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges for HE course revision, through describing the supervisors and contexts pre-service teachers encounter while on their placements. It seems that the entrenched nature of traditional literacies in education, despite rapid social change in broader communication media, results from a complex assemblage of generational and sexual politics, conservative or neoliberal agendas, and teacher workloads, capabilities and identities.



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C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

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