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Learning Area Tensions and Popularity


Johnston, RM, Learning Area Tensions and Popularity, Proceedings of the International Conference on Critical Discourse Analysis: Theory into Research, 15 - 18 November, 2005 , University of Tasmania, pp. 306-312. ISBN 1862952965 (2006) [Refereed Conference Paper]

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Theoretical discussions of ‘discourse’ and critical discourse analysis highlight the varied meanings of the terms: meanings which vary according to the traditions from which they are derived. Currently, critical discourse analysis is assuming a place within the teaching and learning of Studies of Society and Environment (SOSE); a learning area increasingly recognised for its multi-textuality. The learning area is recognised widely as being unpopular with students and has been criticised for its largely passive pedagogical practices which are thought to contribute to the high level of student dissatisfaction. Discussions of the learning area tend to centre on the pedagogical binary of passive and active approaches to teaching and learning. However, recent longitudinal research which explored pre-service teachers’ choices of field sites for SOSE led to a series of research questions about the discourses—both explicit and implicit—underlying the teaching of SOSE in primary classrooms in Australia. The research highlights the importance of remaining open to an evolving approach to research. A discourse analysis of the blueprints for SOSE indicated the potential power of institutional and disciplinary discourses to influence the way that the learning area is conceptualised and taught. Although discourses of schooling may act to position students and teachers in particular ways��for example, either as passive receivers of knowledge or constructors of it��the effect of such positioning would also seem to be far from deterministic. Yet, findings from the study discussed in the paper pointed to three dominant discourses that seemed to be highly influential in shaping pre-service teachers’ choices: a discourse of community, a discourse of the local environment and a discourse of history. These findings are significant in that they shed new light on the tensions between the dominant discourses of SOSE and the contested global environment in which students live.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Conference Paper
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Education systems
Research Field:Teacher education and professional development of educators
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and curriculum
Objective Field:Teacher and instructor development
UTAS Author:Johnston, RM (Dr Robbie Johnston)
ID Code:58412
Year Published:2006
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2009-10-01
Last Modified:2012-03-30

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