Portraits of ‘learning on the move’: Teachers’ accounts of literacy’s trajectories

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Australian Journal of Language and Literacy


The focus of this special edition is students’ literacy development over the school years. Drawing on data that includes classroom interactions, analyses of texts, and interviews with students, this edition builds on the seminal treatment of the question of literacy transitions provided in Christie and Derewianka (2008). This paper aims to contribute to this effort by documenting how particular versions of students’ progress in literacy appear in a selection of interviews with teachers of Preschool through to Year 7: How do these teachers variously characterise teaching and learning literacy in terms of skill, knowledge, and disposition? How does each teacher describe the pressing literacy demands that their students need to meet if they are to be ready for what lies immediately ahead of them? The discussion also takes account of two consequential features of the setting: literacy in the institution of schooling, and the ways in which that connection is made into research data via the apparatus of the interview. Some implications and ways forward for teaching and researching are outlined: how teachers can apply practical theorising to literacy as it is set in, and moves through, the school years, and how the interview can be productively understood as a data-collection apparatus.

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