Anyone who has attended the AATE/ALEA national conference in the last…well, many years, might have noticed this year that ALEA and AATE have gone separate conference ways – ALEA in July and AATE in December.
There are a range of practical reasons for this, but for me it highlights some common territory between English and Literacy teachers that has perhaps been assumed over the years. After all, when we go to these conferences aren’t the Literacy teachers invariably Primary school teachers? Are English teachers really Literacy teachers at all? To what extent to we belong ‘at each others conferences’?
So I have put in a proposal to deliver a 30 minute paper on the topic: Queer as folk: The English and Literacy teacher divide
The title purposefully invokes queer discourse in questioning the way we use labels in constructing our identity.
I’m hoping to stir up some controversy with this one – hope it gets accepted!
ABSTRACT (text from image above): Are you ‘English’ or ‘Literacy’? In years gone by at the combined AATE/ALEA conferences I have attended questions like this seemed to be in perpetual motion, hopping between conversations and publishers stalls, helping us to peg out our common ground and distinguish connections. For some this is code for ‘are you a Primary school teacher or a High school teacher?’ For others, it’s code for ‘do you teach reading or books?’ If the answer was something about multiliteracies then you got a gold star…but why?
What does the question mean to you – are you ‘English’ or ‘Literacy’? What are our expectations when coming to a conference for ‘Literacy Educators’? As we find ourselves situated in the very multiliterate present, faced with a National Curriculum where Literacy has been conceptualised as a ‘strand’ within the English Curriculum, and with the annual AATE conference still six months away, what do you mean when you call yourself a ‘Literacy’ teacher?
In this presentation I will speak to what it means for me to be an ‘English’ teacher, and outline some of the challenges that secondary English teachers face in defining their literacy goals. I will also reflect on the transition from practicing English teaching in New South Wales to teaching it to pre-service teachers in Queensland and revisit theoretical frameworks connected with literacy education to connect these with the experiences of teachers in the classroom. Participants will have opportunities to engage in discussion about the relationship between subject associations and their members, as well as reflection on their own professional identity.