The sophisticated literacy practitioner and the global pandemic.

10 June 2021

Negative portrayals in the Australian media situate teachers as a problem and teaching as a deficit practice. Society is positioning teachers, especially teachers of literacy, as the reason for poor student performance. In addition, negative media discourse around deficit initial teacher education, especially with regard to the teaching of reading and writing, is adding to the overall assumption that teachers of literacy are failing. This article highlights instances of teacher practice by literacy teachers during the global pandemic of COVID-19 which oppose the 'problem teacher' discourse. Snowball sampling was used to garner seven early years and primary school teachers for interviews, focussing on teacher perceptions of multimodal texts. A Foucaultian lens of governmentality and power and Fairclough's approach to Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) were used as lens and method of analysis. The findings of this study indicate that these participant teachers have been sophisticated practitioners in their planning and practice during the pandemic, despite the institutional barriers and extreme disruptions experienced. On reflection, therefore, the constructed societal discourse around 'problem teachers' needs to be reviewed and adjusted.