Investigating student teachers’ presentations of literacy and literacy pedagogy in a complex context
The field of literacy and primary literacy education is patterned by multiple discourses and this raises challenges for those educating the next generation of primary literacy teachers. In England, the last 15 years have seen considerable levels of prescription in the primary literacy curriculum and compliance by the school and teacher education sectors has been enforced through demanding accountability regimes. In this paper, the authors draw on findings of a small-scale interview study to consider how understandings of literacies associated with different contexts may or may not inflect student teachers’ orientations towards literacy provision in school. The authors explore how five student teachers presented their experiences of literacy within and beyond the classroom and how they seemed to position themselves in relation to literacy pedagogy. The authors focus particularly on continuities and discontinuities between literacies in the student teachers’ personal and professional lives, and on tensions they identified between the teachers they felt they wanted to, and were expected to, become. Reflecting on this work, the authors consider how they can best equip pre-service primary and early years teachers to develop as critical reflective literacy practitioners in the current context.
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