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ItemHeroes and gender: Children Reading and Writing.(Australian Association for the Teaching of English, Inc., 1994)Educators who are concerned about reading and writing practices within schools, and their constructions and representations of gender, are inevitably confronted with troublesome complexities and contradictions. Contradiction however can be understood not as a failure of critics to `get it right', but as an inevitable consequence of the competing discourses within which we (as educators, as women, as readers and writers) are positioned. Exploring sites of contradiction can be a fruitful way of increasing our understanding of these discourses, in order perhaps to better resist or negotiate our positions within them. Feminist poststructuralist theory offers one useful tool for such an analysis. Equally useful and important is an explicit recognition of the ethical implications of any interaction between people (specifically, between teachers and children, and amongst children) in a classroom situation. Here I want to explore some of the contradictions and complexities that girls and boys might find in taking up the position of hero in the stories that they read, write, imagine – and live.
ItemWhen the diaspora returns. Language choices in post-independence Timor Lorosa’e.(Lythrum Press, 2004)After four centuries of Portuguese rule, twenty four years of Indonesian occupation, and two years of United Nations' administration, East Timor gained independence on 20 May, 2002. The new constitution of East Timor designates Portuguese as the official language, Tetum (the Indigenous lingua franca) as the national language, and English and Indonesian as working languages. There are also sixteen distinct local languages in the various districts. Indonesian is being officially phased out, but Indonesia remains East Timor's largest trading partner. Why was Portuguese chosen as the official language of East Timor? East Timor must confront the possibility of failing as a nation, like at least one of its neighbours, the Solomon Islands. Language questions will play a key part in East Timor's direction. The following are examples of the practical consequences of choosing Portuguese as the official language, in a country where less than fifteen per cent of the people speak or understand it.
ItemThe Care of the Self: poststructuralist questions about moral education and gender.(Routledge: part of the Taylor & Francis Group, 1996)The relationship between poststructuralist theory and ethics or values in education is a complex and relatively unexplored one, yet in classrooms the ethical implications of theory are lived out daily in the relations between teachers and children. Teachers who are interested in bringing the insights of poststructuralist theory into their work with children still tend to refer back (consciously or otherwise) to the ethics of versions of liberal humanism in making value judgements. The incongruence which results can undermine changes that a teacher wants to bring about. One approach to this dilemma can be through narrative. Narrative, or story, is one of the "technologies of the self" most available to teachers and children for the construction, regulation and care of selves (as knowers, as learners and as moral agents), including the ongoing construction of values associated with feminine and masculine gender identities. Deconstruction of children's classroom and lived narratives can make this process visible. This paper will explore the specific and differing values made visible in one story told by five children.
ItemCritical Imagination: serious play with narrative and gender.(Routledge: part of the Taylor & Francis Group, 1996)Narrative is one of the primary ways of human knowing, both of the physical and social worlds and of the self. Feminist post-structuralist theory can give teachers insights into the ongoing processes by which children construct feminine and masculine gender identities through narrative. It can provide a framework within which they might begin to make a wider range of narrative positionings available to both girls and boys. The cognitive, ethical and imaginative implications of this process for classroom practice can be taken up in the work of critical imagination. Three strategies are suggested for teachers: the deconstruction of lived and told storylines; the development of a reflective ethical practice congruent with post-structuralist understandings of the self and the world; and the writing/telling/adapting of multitudes of stories that interrupt binary thinking.