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Othering or inclusion? Teacher practice around Asian voices and identities in literature


Thomas, A and To, V, Othering or inclusion? Teacher practice around Asian voices and identities in literature, English in Australia, 54, (3) pp. 18-27. ISSN 0046-208X (2019) [Refereed Article]


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‘Asia literacy’ can be loosely defined as ‘some understanding of Asia and its languages in order to engage with it and communicate with its people’ (Erebus Consulting Partners, 2002). The Australian Curriculum has prioritised children’s development of Asia literacy, namely through articulating the cross-curriculum priority defined as ‘Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia’. In terms of the English curriculum, this priority is realised through an emphasis on the representation of Asian voices and characters in literature that is studied in the classroom. However, previous research undertaken in schools to explore the use of multicultural literature by teachers has demonstrated an uncritical approach to literature – with teachers tending to set up binary opposites of ‘Australian’ and ‘the Other’ (Mendoza & Reese, 2001; Rodriguez & Kim, 2018; Leong & Woods, 2017). This paper will present the complexities of practice with literature centred around countries from Asia as represented through research with five Tasmanian teachers – one early childhood teacher, three primary school teachers, and one secondary English teacher. It will examine the factors that influence teachers to use literature from Asian countries, their selection of literature, and their classroom practice with literature. Finally it makes some recommendations for a stronger future whereby Asian peoples, voices and stories are integrated more inclusively and critically in teachers’ everyday practice.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and pedagogy
Research Field:English and literacy curriculum and pedagogy (excl. LOTE, ESL and TESOL)
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Communication
Objective Field:Literature
UTAS Author:Thomas, A (Dr Angela Thomas)
UTAS Author:To, V (Dr Vinh To)
ID Code:140872
Year Published:2019
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2020-09-13
Last Modified:2021-08-24
Downloads:23 View Download Statistics

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