English Teaching: Practice and Critique
Volume 11, Number 4 (December 2012): Focus: The professional content knowledge of the English/literacy teacher: Addressing the implications of diversity
There are two parts to the thematic focus of this journal: 1. The professional content knowledge of the English/literacy teacher, 2. The implications of this “knowledge construction” for classrooms that in many places are becoming increasingly linguistically and culturally diverse.
The first part provided contributors an opportunity to revisit themes raised in two early issues of English Teaching: Practice and Critique. In the inaugural issue of the journal (1:1; November 2002), members of the newly established Editorial Board and others shared a personalised account of the “state of English (Language Arts)” in their respective constituencies. The overriding question was: “What is it like to be an English teacher right now in this time and place?” In September, 2004 (3:2), two of the three editors for this issue (Locke and Goodwyn), invited contributions on the theme of “Reclaiming the professional development agenda in an age of compliance”. In the editorial, we noted a range of educational reforms that had occurred internationally that we saw as having an “enormous impact on the nature of teachers’ work through the implementation of managerial organisational practices and other accountability mechanisms.” We saw increased state intervention as putting teacher professionality at risk through the adoption of managerial technologies that marginalised teachers’ input into the determination of what counts in terms of their own professional knowledge.Back in 1986, Lee Shulman asked the question: “Where did the subject matter go?” (p. 5). He responded to his own schema by categorising teacher knowledge in terms of content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge and curricular knowledge and its forms in terms of prepositional knowledge, case knowledge, and strategic knowledge (Shulman, 1986). This issue contains contributions that raise questions about the constitution of the English/literacy teacher’s professional knowledge, some of which ask the question: “Who or what controls the constitution of this knowledge” and “What are the implications for shifts in the locus of control for the practices of English/literacy teachers?”
The second aspect of our theme concerns diversity. A number of issues of this journal have addressed this theme in various ways: The second issue ever (2:2, September, 2003) addressed the issue of textual diversity, that is, the phenomenon of burgeoning diversity around textual practices which were become increasingly multimodal and digitized. Other issues have dealt with: “The challenge of teaching English in a multilingual or monolingual context (3:1, May, 2004); “Recognising diversity and difference: Challenges for English/literacy” (7:2, September, 2008); “Subject English in bilingual and multilingual settings: Embracing the linguistic Other” (8:2, September, 2009); and “Special issue: Culturally responsive research and pedagogy” (10:2, July, 2011). Diversity as a theme can be interpreted in many different ways, and contributors to this issue, from a range of countries and contexts, have addressed it in various ways.
Shulman, L. S. (1986). Those who understand: Knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4-14.
The Editorial Board expresses its gratitude to the the guest editors of this issue and also to the following (some are members of the Review Board) who have helped with the review process: Marnie O'Neill (University of Western Australia); Pat Strauss (Auckland University of Technology): Judy Hunter (University of Waikato); Kevin Roach (Auckland University of Technology): Bethan Marshall (King's College London); Tony Petrosky (University of Pittsburgh);Bob Fecho (University of Georgia), Richard Hill (University of Waikato; Jackie Manuel (University of Sydney), Brenton Doecke (Deakin University); Sue Brindley (University of Cambridge), Jacqui Dornbrack (University of Capetown).