Teaching Australian Literature: From Classroom Conversations to National Imaginings
1 Jan 2011
What role should Australian literature play in the school curriculum? What principles should guide our selection of Australian texts? To what extent should concepts of the nation and a national identity frame the study of Australian writing? What do we imagine Australian literature to be? How do English teachers go about engaging their students in reading Australian texts? This volume brings together teachers, teacher educators, creative writers and literary scholars in a joint inquiry that takes a fresh look at what it means to teach Australian literature. The immediate occasion for the publication of these essays is the implementation of The Australian Curriculum: English, which several contributors subject to critical scrutiny. In doing so, they question the way that literature teaching is currently being constructed by standards-based reforms, not only in Australia but elsewhere. The essays assembled in this volume transcend the divisions that have sometimes marred debates about the place of Australian literature in the school curriculum. They all recognise the complexity of what secondary English teachers do in their efforts to engage young people in a rich and meaningful curriculum. They also highlight the need for both secondary and tertiary educators to cultivate an awareness of the cultural and intellectual traditions that mediate their professional practice and to encourage a critically responsive pedagogy.