Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Theses
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ItemUneasy lies the head : the repositioning of heads of English in independent schools in Victoria in the age of new learning technologiesWatkinson, 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.
ItemLiterature and English teaching : a study of literature in the teaching of English at Scotch College, MelbourneWatkinson, Alan Redmayne ( 1991)The first chapter of this thesis provides a personal memoir of my teaching career, and places it in the wider historical context of developments within English teaching in England and Australia. It establishes my own position at the key points of these developments in 1966, 1975, 1980 and 1985 and introduces the main area of interest - the place of literature in the teaching of English. The second chapter concerns the vast amount of writing on the nature and teaching of literature in English. It provides an historical review of the main body of this writing and derives some of its focus from the seminal work of John Dixon in 1966, as well as the Bullock Report of 1975. The vigorous yet sometimes slightly artificial debate on the issue of literature teaching is also examined in the review of the important journal, The Use of English. Chapter Three develops the ideas propounded in some of the writings examined in the previous chapter and provides an analysis of my own experience at Melbourne Grammar School. Chapter Four shows the similarities and differences existing between Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar School and details a more critical view of the state of English teaching from 1980 - 1990 at Scotch College. It reviews some of the specific examples of literature teaching and shows the slow progress which has been experienced over a decade within the College. The final chapter brings together the case of Scotch College and reviews possible future progress in the light of perceived difficulties inherent in the structure of the College. The general outlook for English at the College is seen in positive terms and suggestions are provided for further research into both the reading habits of students and the processes involved in the teaching of literature within the current restraints.