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Teachers' habitus for teaching English

Flynn, N. (2015) Teachers' habitus for teaching English. English in Australia, 50 (1). pp. 21-28. ISSN 0155-2147

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In this examination of monolingual and multilingual pedagogies I draw on literature that explores the position of English globally and in the curriculum for English. I amplify the discussion with data from a project exploring how teachers responded to the arrival of Polish children in their English classrooms following Poland’s entry to the European Union in 2004. While both Poland and England are a long way from Australia, the sudden arrival of non-native speaking children from families who have the right to work and settle in the UK is interesting of itself as a development in the migration agenda affecting many nations of teachers in the 21st century. Indeed, this view of migration adds to the overview of migration in an Australian context and recent Australian immigration settlement policies often mirror this with new arrivals moving to rural areas resulting in an EAL presence in schools which may be new. Until recently it was most commonly the case that teachers in schools in inner city and other urban parts of the UK might expect to teach in multilingual classrooms, but teachers in smaller towns and in areas identified as rural were unlikely to confront either linguistic or ethnic differences in their pupils. I use the theories of Bourdieu to analyse the status of the curriculum for English expressed in research literature, and the teachers’ interview data. This supports a level of interpretation that allows us to see how teachers’ practice and the teaching of English are formed by schools’ and teachers’ histories and beliefs as much as they are by the wishes of politicians in creating educational policy. It adds to the view presented in the first article in this issue that provision for EAL/D learners sits within a monolingual assessment structure which may militate against the attainment of non-native English speakers. I present a wide-ranging discussion intentionally, in order that the many complexities of policy impact and teacher habitus on teachers’ practice are made apparent.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM)
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > International Study and Language Institute (ISLI)
ID Code:44096
Uncontrolled Keywords:Bourdieu, multilingual pedagogies, curriculum for English
Publisher:Australian Association for the Teaching of English

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