Pedagogical practices for literacy learning: the challenge for teachers of enacting local agreements

Year: 2013

Author: Hayes, Debra, Kerkham, Lyn

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The increased use of data in schools to monitor improvements in students' literacy also exposes teachers' classroom practices to greater scrutiny. In South Australian primary schools, Teachers' performance reviews now commonly involve an analysis of the literacy performance of their students. As well as an increased focus on the effects of their practice, teachers in the Educational Leadership and Turnaround Literacy Pedagogies (ELTP) case study schools are expected to engage in ongoing professional learning designed to improve their practice. They may be expected to work in professional learning teams, to work with a literacy coach, and to learn from colleagues who ‘model' their practice. There is nothing particularly new about these kinds of expectations but increasingly participation in professional learning is a requirement of locally determined literacy agreements, and takes the form of a contractual arrangement. While literacy agreements are intended to outline a shared, positive and consistent approach to literacy learning, they are enacted through the intensification of surveillance and the standardisation of practice. In this paper, we explore the possible tensions between these intentions and enactments. We discuss some possible effects, such as limiting teacher autonomy, and practice, and conceptualising the role of a teaching as delivering, implementing and ‘rolling out' literacy strategies.