Faculty of Education - Theses

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    Uneasy lies the head : the repositioning of heads of English in independent schools in Victoria in the age of new learning technologies
    Watkinson, Alan Redmayne ( 2004)
    This study explores the discursive practice of six Heads of English in Independent Schools in Victoria during a period of major cultural change. This change has been associated with huge public investment in New Learning Technologies and shifting perceptions and expectations of cultural agency in communities of practice such as English Departments in Schools. In this social milieu tensions exist between the societal rhetoric of school management and marketing of the efficacy of NLTs as educational realities and discursive practices at a departmental level, embodying and embedding academic values and attainments. In their conversations with the author, the Heads of English reveal much about themselves and the nature and distribution of their duties and responsibilities within the local moral order of their schools and with their individual communities of practice. A model is developed of the dual praxis of the Heads of the Heads of English, mediated by autobiography and historically available cultural resources in a community of practice. As agents concerned to both maintain and transform their local culture of English teaching, and consequently the whole school culture, the Heads of English account for themselves as responding to their own `sense of place' in their own community of practice, but also the `structure of feeling' of the period by which their achievements and standing are known. This study of the persons of the English co-ordinators draws upon both Positioning Theory and critical realism to reveal the dynamic nature of both their identity and the social organization of English teaching in schools.