Key issues and future directions in the nexus of literacy research, policy and practice

Year: 2008

Author: Harris, Pauline

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Relationships among literacy research, policy and practice continue to constitute a contentious issue in the context of literacy policy reforms in Australia and overseas. Referring to these relationships as the Literacy Nexus, this paper explores the nexus in terms of research/policy relationships; policy/practice relationships; and practice/research relationships. The paper provides a review of related literature on these relationships, based on Australian and U.S. research studies and reports published since 2000; and highlights key issues inherent in these relationships. These issues include ways in which literacy research is used in literacy policy and the consequences of this use for the fields of research and practice; the extent to which literacy policy connects or disconnects with teachers' classrooms realities in the field of practice; and the question of teachers' professional judgment and prerogative as they make informed choices about messages from research and policy in light of what they find works for their students. As this paper considers these issues, it identifies research directions for investigating the literacy nexus further. Ultimately, the purpose of this paper is to engage discussion about the literacy nexus and ways in which it might be strengthened to the betterment of literacy education. In so doing, the paper is framed by the author's engagement as First Chief Investigator in a collaborative ARC Discovery Project on the Literacy nexus.