• Contested territories: English teachers in Australia and England remaining resilient and creative in constraining times

      O’Sullivan, Kerry-Ann; Goodwyn, Andrew; Macquarie University; University of Bedfordshire (Taylor and Francis Ltd., 2020-07-23)
      Globally teachers are experiencing reductions to their autonomy and constraints on their professional practice through legislative impositions of limiting standards, external testing and narrowing curricula. This study explores the ways English educators find a balance between these external expectations, contemporary pressures, professional aspirations, and personal values. It was a qualitative investigation into the perceptions shared by thirty-three English teachers from New South Wales, Australia and across England. A significant gap now exists between the ways English teachers conceive their subject, their purposes and the nature of their work, and that determined by regulation, formalised curriculum and accreditation requirements. The enduring resilience of these teachers is revealed but also the corrosive structural effects produced by narrowly focused, neoliberal policies especially in relation to high stakes testing. However, the research demonstrates how certain English teachers remain remarkably resilient–retaining autonomy where they can–and we define this attribute as ‘adaptive agency’.
    • Pre‐twentieth century literature in the Year 9 classroom: student responses to different teaching approaches

      Wood, Audrey B.; University of Huddersfield (Taylor & Francis, 2017-10-30)
      This article arises from an action research investigation that sought to understand the ways in which different approaches to teaching pre-twentieth century literature in Year 9 English lessons might influence students’ experiences of texts. It examines the proposition that some students need to have a secure understanding of the text before they can benefit from more creative approaches which require them to undertake independent and personal responses. Although creative methods of teaching are often posited as being superior to more teacher-led approaches, student responses suggest that requiring them to participate in creative activities as a means of exploring an unfamiliar text without first ensuring they have a solid understanding of the overarching narrative and a good grasp of unknown language can lead to resistance and disengagement. In this case study, some students benefited from and appreciated a structured approach that included more ‘traditional’ methods of teaching pre-twentieth century literature, which they said helped them to learn more effectively.