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The literacy maze: walking through or stepping round?

Haworth, Avril (2006) The literacy maze: walking through or stepping round? Language and education, 20 (2). pp. 95-109. ISSN 0950-0782

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Literacy has always been a contested site in primary phase teaching. Internationally, there is a trend towards increased direct government intervention in areas of pedagogy, as well as curriculum. Recently in the UK, national initiatives, designed to raise standards of literacy among the 11-14 age group, have required English teachers to adapt their professional practices to accommodate highly prescriptive curricular and pedagogic directives which, I argue, represent a 'discursive regime' that challenges English teachers to rethink professional identity in relation to 'English' and 'literacy'. Specifically, I explore the rhetorical and professional options available to teacher educators and postgraduate trainee teachers in their initial encounters with such literacy programmes in university and schools. Using Bakhtin's account of 'authoritative' and 'internally persuasive' discourses, I trace the professional self-identifications of a group of English trainee teachers over a period of a year.

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