Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The Literacy Wars
Just back from a great session that ended up being really good Professional Development (PD) even though I thought I was just going to a meeting. As a member of the VATE PD committee I attend monthly meeting where we plan events for English teachers around the state. It's always great to work with other (mostly) passionate teacers who care enough about their work to look at helping other teachers, learning a lot as we go as well. But this evening there was a visit by Monash academic Illana Snyder who was there to talk about her new book The Literacy Wars. A wide ranging discussion ensued among the twenty or so teachers there, about topics of interest in working as English teachers in the political and cultural climate of arguments about literacy that construct teachers as somehow being the problem instead of as professionals in the classroom. We talked about the moves towards a national curriculum, teacher workloads, preservice teacher education and the varied takeup by teachers of the new technologies such as blogging, podcasting and game-making, among other things. While I was there I reflected that I was privileged to be hearing wise and reflective discussion where people shared their experiences. It was an inspiring meeting (and yes I know that sounds like an oxymoron).