Communities of practice in the design of a curriculum for student teachers of English

22 Jan 2018

This article interprets the new Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement for Further Education and Training for teacher education as an opportunity for creating communities of practice, which means viewing teaching and learning as socially situated (Barton, 1994: 68). A transliteracies framework for language development was used (Stornaiuolo, Smith and Phillips (2016: 4), which refers to resemiotisation. Guiterrez (2008) implies that, in an institutionalised learning context, it is acknowledged that multiple discourses come together around a specific task, such as in this case, English education. Multiple intersecting discourses are at play, and individuals develop meaningful connections to each other in the process of collaborative negotiation of meaning. In these communities, certain practices originate, and are developed, perpetuated and discarded, or adapted with the intention of expanding student linguistic and intellectual development. The content of the specific English teacher education curriculum design discussed here, is on globally pertinent issues of political, social and ecological ethics, in an attempt to address existing and persistent hierarchies of power while developing agency, voice, empathy and reflexivity, qualities which may enhance community development. A strong emphasis on critical reading, collaborative argumentation, and engagement with text production is proposed, as a means of building community in the classroom.