Melbourne Graduate School of Education - Research Publications

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    Where are the students? A close reading of priorities and silences in scholarly and public debates on VCE English (1990-2021).
    Horton, A ; McLean Davies, L (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2022-08-05)
    Debates about subject English in Australia are often conducted through the senior years curriculum. In light of the anticipated interest in the new Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) English study design released in 2022 to be implemented in 2023, this paper outlines the current state of research on the VCE English subject by mapping areas of interest, types of evidence and gaps in research. The authors utilise a hybrid approach of narrative scoping review to identify methodological and thematic trends in the scholarly literature, and intersecting professional and media discourse on VCE English from 1990 to 2021. Finding that the student experience and the enacted curriculum have been largely elided, the paper identifies fresh lines of inquiry into VCE English and advocates for new discussions around scholarly interest and approaches to senior secondary English in Australia.
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    'Kindness and empathy beyond all else': Challenges to professional identities of Higher Education teachers during COVID-19 times
    Cain, M ; Campbell, C ; Coleman, K (SPRINGER, 2022-08-04)
    COVID-19 has continued to effect higher education globally in significant ways. During 2020, many institutions shifted learning online overnight as the sector closed its doors and opened new sites for remote teaching. This article reports on an international study [Phillips et al., 2021] that sought to capture how cross-sectoral teachers experienced these emergency changes during the first months of restrictions. The data, analysed using narrative identity theory, revealed concerns that fall into two broad categories: technologies and relationships. Significantly, it was not a loss of content delivery or changes to assessment that prompted the greatest anxiety for our colleagues, but that they held significant concerns about their students' mental health; inequities of access to a range of services including technological; and challenges connecting emotionally with their students at a distance. The results provide actionable strategies for higher education institutions to apply in future emergencies where remote teaching is necessary.
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    A critical review of digital game literacies in the English classroom
    Bacalja, A (University Library J. C. Senckenberg, 2022-07-14)
    This paper reviews research into the use of digital games in the L1 English classroom. It deals specifically with qualitative case study research investigating the potentialities of these new social, cultural and textual forms. The aim is to provide a critical review of the research to identify how teachers have been using these new forms of meaning making and to explore the literate practices associated with the study of digital games in the English classroom, as well as the games selected and the forms of classroom play utilised. Analysis of the 16 studies which met the inclusion criteria reveals that digital game literacies present opportunities for meeting the historical imperatives of English teaching, but also for providing new ways of thinking about how we support students to know themselves and the world. Connecting with students’ lifeworlds, developing traditional and contemporary skills, questioning representations within texts, and supporting the aesthetic dimension of textual experience, were reported to be important outcomes that could be achieved through learning about digital games in English.
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    English teacher education in the time of COVID: Australian teacher educators share their experiences
    Bacalja, A ; Parr, G ; McGraw,, K ; Dutton, J ; Diamond, F (Australian Association for the Teaching of English (AATE), 2021-12-01)
    Many studies have repor ted the disruption and anxiety associated with initial teacher education programs across the world lurching in and out of online and remote teaching because of COVID-19 related lockdowns. Few studies, however, have homed in on the day-to-day experiences of teacher educators in par ticular disciplinary specialisms or ‘methods’, or explored how these disciplinary contexts shaped the experience of teaching in the time of COVID-19. This essay presents extended autobiographical accounts of four English teacher educators from different universities on the east coast of Australia, who taught English methods during lockdowns in 2020 and 2021. The study affirms the uniqueness of their experiences, but also recognises four key dimensions of the English teacher educators’ work: relational work; curriculum and pedagogical work; identity work; and professional learning. The study has implications for how English teacher education responds to the challenges of teaching during and beyond the pandemic.uring and beyond the pandemic.
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    (Re)imagining ambivalent Australia: the curriculum as a tool of nation
    Bacalja, A ; Bliss, L ; Bulfer, M (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2021-07-17)
    This paper explores how Australian literature mandated for study in the Victorian senior English curriculum creates opportunities for problematizing central myths about Australia. We engage with Homi Bhabha’s notion of ambivalence to demonstrate how representations of colonization, rurality and migration reflect discursive formations of Australia. We consider how each discourse serves a pedagogic function, essentializing a set of myths about Australia: as having redeemed the violence done to Indigenous Australians in the colonial period, as embodying a white, rural masculine ideal, and as a welcoming nation open to migrants. Here, we show the points of orientation these texts provide, in their rearticulations of “the scraps … of daily life”, and further consider how the texts can problematize nationalist narratives.
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    (Re)orientating literacy doxa in the digital age: the discursive practices of new policy actors
    Bacalja, A (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2021-10-04)
    deological struggles over the policy and practice of literacy education continue to characterise the field. This paper explores how ‘new policy actors’, market-orientated and profit-driven players, construct the crisis of literacy and schooling in Australia to reclaim the doxa of literacy education. The concept of doxa is employed to show how recent discursive practices are contributing to orthodox and heterodox positions. A mixed-methods content analysis was performed on reports produced by business groups and their proxies, analysing how these reports construct new narratives. The findings reveal how these stakeholders adopt a stance best characterised as the old doxa revisited and (re)orientated for new economic imperatives. A defence of literacy as ‘common-sense’ basic skills, in crisis, and predominantly developed through schooling for the purpose of work, is supplemented with a discourse which updates literacy doxa to include technological (media) dimensions where digital literacy skills are the ‘new basics’ of literacy education.
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    ATTAINING MATHEMATICAL INSIGHT DURING A FLOW STATE: WAS THERE SCAFFOLDING?
    Williams, G ; Williams, G (Japan Academic Society of Mathematics Education (JASME), 2020)
    This post-lesson video-stimulated interview study of the creative development of mathematical insight by a Year 6 student—during group activity in class—examines whether scaffolding occurred, and if so, what was its nature? This capable mathematics student who generally disliked school mathematics, became intensely engaged both intellectually and affectively during a problem-solving task in the research period. The task, its implementation, group interactions, and teacher actions all influenced, but did not cause his insight development. Scaffolding actions that differed in nature to those identified by Bruner did occur. This study could inform researchers, teachers, and professional learning providers intending to deepen mathematical understandings and increase student interest in mathematics.
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    Eliciting mathematical reasoning during early primary problem solving
    Herbert, S ; Williams, G (SPRINGER, 2021-05-28)
    Mathematical reasoning, which plays a critical role in students’ capacity to make sense of mathematics, is now emphasised more strongly in various curricula internationally. However, reasoning is sometimes difficult for teachers to recognise, let alone teach. This case study considers video of one teacher’s implementation of a problem-solving lesson in a year 1 primary school class in Australia. It examines the opportunities this teacher provided to leverage reasoning and contributes to the body of knowledge on ways reasoning may be elicited during problem solving. The new Eliciting Mathematical Reasoning Framework arising from the analysis of the data in this study builds on and extends previous research. It provides a tool to support researchers, teacher educators, professional learning providers, and teachers in recognising and eliciting reasoning.
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    Literacy education for citizenship across the lifespan
    Farrell, L ; Eadie, T ; Davies, LM ; Sandiford, C (SPRINGERNATURE, 2022-06-06)
    The task of English language and literacy education to define citizenship, and shape citizens, has rarely been more compelling or more challenging than it is today. Globally and nationally, our civic response to COVID-19 has catapulted us into a world where our rights as and responsibilities as citizens are being fundamentally re-negotiated at the same time as we come to rely on technologically mediated literate practice to connect a world that is more spatially and temporally separated than many of us have ever known it to be. We are challenged to remake our identities and commit to new kinds of personal and civic relationships—nationally and globally—as we try to navigate uncharted waters. Our focus here is on the role that literacy education plays in understanding and defining active citizenship in a turbulent context in which foundational literacy practices are transforming just as accepted understandings of active citizenship are under challenge. We direct our attention specifically to the distinctive role that literacy practice plays in the production of identities and relationships and consider new ways for literacy education to build active citizenship across the lifespan from early education through primary and secondary education through to workforce education.
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    Affective enactments of class: attuning to events, practice, capacity
    Mulcahy, D ; Martinussen, M (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2022-05-06)
    Based on empirical research with working-class students studying in Australian universities, this article frames class as a structuring relation, but also as a series of affective events, through which we emphasise capacities. Putting the concept of class in conversation with two analytics of affect, we show how class is a relational site of struggle in which subjectivities and socio-material arrangements come together to produce emergent yet patterned effects. Lines of inquiry are opened up that go beyond the reproduction of inequalities, which tends to command attention in customary critical class analysis. Class struggle is enacted via events of an affective-discursive-material kind that constrain and capacitate. While working-class identifications are normatively devalued, working-class students hold on to them, enacting classed subjectivities affirmatively. We suggest that expanding class analysis to include affective capacities illuminates new dimensions of class struggle.