"On 'Child Study' and primary English teaching: Curriculum history, teacher education, and educational research."

Year: 1996

Author: Reid, Jo-Anne, Green, Bill

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Teacher education by definition is a site of teacher learning, whether pre-service or in-service. The process of teacher education should therefore be a process of change, both in and of the profession. In this paper we focus on a central aspect of primary teacher education, the teaching of English. We present the thesis that primary English today bears the traces of history, including its own genealogical history, and that contemporary debates are best engaged by being understood in historical context. Drawing on our recent work investigating the history of English teaching, programming and the literacy debates, we will examine the disciplining context of primary English in historical context, and the foundational status of 'child study' as a forerunner of psychology and as an integral aspect of the 'New Education' in Australia. This will be considered in specific relation to the recent 'Competencies' debate.