Negotiating the dominant discourses of explicit instruction and culturally responsive pedagogy in the Far North Queensland context: a teacher's journey

D'Aietti, Karen Maureen (2017) Negotiating the dominant discourses of explicit instruction and culturally responsive pedagogy in the Far North Queensland context: a teacher's journey. Professional Doctorate (Research) thesis, James Cook University.

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This action research study took place in Far North Queensland, Australia focusing on my teaching journey, which took place in a grade 6/7 classroom with 20 Torres Strait Islander students over one school year in the subject area of literacy. The study documents my efforts to navigate and respond to two prominent teaching models – Explicit Instruction (Archer & Hughes, 2011) and Culturally Responsive Pedagogy (DET, 2011; Perso, 2012), both of which inform policy statements in the area of study. Using a reflective journal, teacher observations, informal student dialogue sessions, yarning circles and student work samples, I endeavoured to adjust my practice to determine how best to meet my learners’ needs. Through on-going critical reflective practice, engaging with two critical friends in conversation (Berry, 2007) and consulting with my cultural mentorship group, my teaching practice underwent transformation as a result of a change in my thinking. My overriding intention throughout this journey was not to simply accept imposed mandates, but rather to question by listening and responding to my students’ voiced opinions about what practices best assisted their learning (Hattie, 2012). The current study revealed that if teachers are to acknowledge both the requirements of teaching explicitly and responsively, the documented model must be reconsidered, repositioned and readjusted. Five key findings were revealed as being important to students’ needs in this study:

1. Students want to learn and the explicit model has to be adjusted for this to occur.

2. Students need to be recognised as English as additional language learners, with a focus on assisting them navigate not just the written, but more importantly the oral demands of the English language.

3. Students require teacher support in all aspects of English assessment.

4. Students want their teachers to reconsider and use reciprocal learning practices such as learning with their peers in English.

5. Finally, students wanted to experience success in English through the embedding of Torres Strait Islander perspectives.

From a teacher’s perspective, the most profound discovery on this journey was a personal one, for I discovered a sense of self. That is, my own beliefs were challenged and ultimately repositioned as I learnt to focus upon my students’ success, from their perspective, not mine. Despite the success I experienced in transforming elements of my teaching, I concede that not all aspects of my practice were able to be resolved. I refer to these points of seeking resolution throughout the study as ‘tensions’ (Berry, 2007; Sellars, 2014), which were ultimately the source of my growth and transformation. The results of this study, which essentially documents my development in working agentically and responsively in order to be an effective practitioner, are likely to be of benefit to students and their communities, policy makers, and especially to current and future teachers working in the Torres Strait. This study will be of significant importance to educators working in Indigenous contexts, especially in contexts where students, as representatives of their own communities, are typically expected to submit to nationalistic imperatives. These students seek teaching which fulfills student- and community-based, rather than state imposed, pedagogical requirements.

Item ID: 51743
Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate (Research))
Keywords: action research, explicit instruction, culturally responsive pedagogy, Torres Strait Islander
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Copyright Information: Copyright © 2017 Karen Maureen D'Aietti
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Publications arising from this thesis are available from the Related URLs field. The publications are:

D'Aietti, Karen, Lewthwaite, Brian, and Chigeza, Philemon (2015) Negotiating the dominant discourses of explicit instruction and culturally responsive pedagogy in the Far North Queensland context: a teacher's journey. Etropic: electronic journal of studies in the tropics, 14 (1). pp. 37-43.

Date Deposited: 11 Dec 2017 00:16
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy > 130204 English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl LOTE, ESL and TESOL) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9302 Teaching and Instruction > 930201 Pedagogy @ 100%
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