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Literacy teaching in the inner-London primary school: the shaping of professional practice, 1970-1979

Harper, EEW; (2016) Literacy teaching in the inner-London primary school: the shaping of professional practice, 1970-1979. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis explores how advice on the teaching of literacy in primary schools is shaped by the context in which it develops. Recognising the profound changes in perceptions of ‘best practice’ in literacy teaching in my own professional life, I question the relationship between the nature of these understandings and the specific environment in which they are formed. I argue that the past can be used as a resource to investigate how guidance for teachers develops in a particular time and place. I take a historical case study approach, focusing on four distinct groups with an interest in influencing language and literacy practice in primary schools in the context of inner London in the 1970s. These groups comprise the Centre for Language in Primary Education (CLPE), the Inner London Education Authority (ILEA) Inspectorate, the ILEA Education Committee and the Bullock Committee on the teaching of English. I interrogate those traces left behind by the existence and operation of these groups to answer key research questions. How did members of each group identify problems and solutions in literacy teaching? How did they see their role and responsibility in working to improve literacy teaching? And how did their understanding of the space in which they operated influence their advice to teachers? I consider how we can think about those concerned with literacy teaching in 1970s London on their own terms while at the same time allowing their work to speak to us in the present. I argue that by looking closely at the function and relationship of these groups in the past we can develop more complex and critical approaches to current practice as literacy teachers by questioning those boundaries of possibility within which we all work and considering alternative spaces for thought and action.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Literacy teaching in the inner-London primary school: the shaping of professional practice, 1970-1979
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education > IOE - Education, Practice and Society
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1475746
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