"To Decolonise or not to Decolonise, that is the question?" Comparing Value Transmission in British and Australian English Classrooms

Activity: Talk or presentation for an academic audienceInvited talk for an academic audience


Can we stop the transmission of injustice issues through the teaching and reading of English literary texts? The visceral and deleterious nature of the propagation of ‘colonial’ values is well discussed in sociological fields in terms of the ‘hidden curriculum’ (Apple, 2004) and theories of social reproduction (Bourdieu, 1986; Bernstein, 1981). However, such approaches tend to take a ‘black box’ construction of the classroom and focus on the mechanics of material persistency in wider society (Morrow & Torres, 1995), rather than critical resistance, thereby ignoring the complexities of social and psychological interactions at various levels of schooling. With the more recent attention placed on decolonising the education curriculum amongst other practices, this talk dives into the complexities of and with the possibilities of such a process. Examining the interconnectivity of the relevant spaces and theoretical frameworks has important implications for the way we think about resisting social injustice and the role of the ‘hidden curriculum’ in education. Jogie’s 2020 book promotes the importance of overseeing the connections that are overlooked in the endorsement (politics), teaching (pedagogy) and assimilation (students) of English literary texts using a comparative study of UK and Australian senior secondary curricula. Drawing on inspiration from Foucault, Adorno and Ricoeur, this seminar will demonstrate how a reinvigorated and interdisciplinary postcolonial approach can attend to such questions as: • How are English literary texts selected to be on prescribed school lists in the UK and Australia? • Are teachers prepared to deal with multiculturalism and latent issues of citizenship and identity in texts? • What do present ‘decolonisation’ and ‘multicultural’ education agendas have in common? • Do league tables and students’ perceived abilities factor into schools’ text selection, and how does this interact with curriculum direction? • What are the effects of text coupling strategies and new text formats (Visual Media) on students’ engagement with English Literature?
Period27 Apr 2020
Held atMiddlesex University