The Spatialized Practices of Teaching Writing in Australian Elementary Schools: Diverse Students Shaping Discoursal Selves
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This paper discusses the teaching of writing within the competing and often contradictory spaces of high-stakes testing and the practices and priorities around writing pedagogy in diverse school communities. It uses socio-spatial theory to examine the real-and-imagined spaces (Soja, 1996) that influence and are influenced by teachers' pedagogical priorities for writing in two linguistically diverse elementary school case studies. Methods of critical discourse analysis are used to examine rich data sets to make visible the discourses and power relations at play in the case schools. Findings show that when teachers' practices focus on the teaching of structure and skills alongside identity building and voice, students with diverse linguistic backgrounds can produce dramatic, authoritative and resonant texts. The paper argues that "thirdspaces" can be forged that both attend to accountability requirements, yet also give the necessary attention to more complex aspects of writing necessary for students from diverse and multilingual backgrounds to invest in writing as a creative and critical form of communication for participation in society and the knowledge economy.
Research in the Teaching of English
Copyright 2014 by the National Council of Teachers of English. Used with permission. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.
English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. LOTE, ESL and TESOL)