Queensland Christian secondary English teachers and critical literacy: faith and the Marxist and poststructuralist underpinnings of the curriculum

Spencer, Denise Anne (2011) Queensland Christian secondary English teachers and critical literacy: faith and the Marxist and poststructuralist underpinnings of the curriculum. PhD thesis, James Cook University.

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The 2002 Queensland Senior English syllabus emphasizes a critical approach to reading and writing that is predicated on Marxist and poststructuralist theories. An examination of the critical literacy support materials reveals that Lyotard's suspicion of meta-narrative, Barthes' death of the author, Foucault's genealogical analysis of power as knowledge and Derrida's deconstruction have become embedded in Senior English in Queensland. While there is a paucity of literature at the interface of critical literacy and Christianity, an examination of the interface of Marxism, poststructuralism and Christian literature identifies three very broad salient areas of tension around notions of self, or subjectivity, emancipation, and truth/meaning. These provide the thematic and organizational structure for the entire thesis. An analysis of the materials made available to teachers of Senior English makes clear that poststructuralist and Marxist views, including views regarding self, or subjectivity, emancipation, and truth/meaning deeply inform these materials. Semi structured interviews with Queensland Senior English teachers in several Queensland Christian schools, demonstrate that theoretical tensions do emerge for them at this interface. It is clear, however, that although these tensions arise in both the theoretical literature and the interviews, there are significant differences within each: neither the teachers, nor the Christian philosophers and theologians, speak with a completely unified voice on these matters, in the same way as the Marxist or poststructuralist voice is not unitary. An examination of practitioners' experience of critical literacy in Queensland classrooms disrupts a double marginalization in that often teachers' perspectives and Christians in particular, are silenced. The issues raised here are not just pertinent for educators who adhere to foundational truths, ultimate textual authority and transcendence. Questions raised about the poststructuralist rejection of presence in identity and texts, the atheistic anthropology in Marxism, the possibility of emancipation through literature, the emphasis on a suspicious hermeneutic, the rejection of absolutes and foundations and the death of the subject, book and author are intimately connected to the values that drive our culture. Whether there is something there in the text or the person, whether something can be known in the text and ultimately whether learners have an obligation to a text are not just important questions to raise for people of Christian faith but are of fundamental importance to all educators.

Item ID: 32591
Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: curriculum; Christianity; critical literacy; poststructuralism
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2014 04:44
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1301 Education Systems > 130106 Secondary Education @ 33%
13 EDUCATION > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130204 English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl LOTE, ESL and TESOL) @ 34%
13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130399 Specialist Studies in Education not elsewhere classified @ 33%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930201 Pedagogy @ 50%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9303 Curriculum > 930399 Curriculum not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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