The construction of the problem learner in South Australian English curriculum documents 1962-1995

Year: 1996

Author: Cormack, Phil

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper will examine the construction of the normal/ideal primary school child in four curriculum and professional development documents in 1962, 1978, 1984 and 1995 and how some children are written as other (a problem or 'at-risk') in relation to that norm. The effects such specification of the child learner has on teachers, particularly in their role as diagnostician, will be explored.

The (re)writing of the problem learner over the last three and a half decades provides insights into the continuities, contradictions and changes which characterise the historical figure of the primary school teacher. These insights will be used to critically re-examine how the present day teacher is being constituted in the recently developed Cornerstones training and development program in literacy for early years teacher.