Teachers-as-writers: Writing information texts in English and vernacular
Exley, Beryl, Carss, Wendy, & Tamata, Apolonia (2015) Teachers-as-writers: Writing information texts in English and vernacular. In Turbill, Jan, Barton, Geogina, & Brock, Cynthia (Eds.) Teaching Writing in Today’s Classrooms: Looking Back to Look Forward. Australian Literacy Educators' Association (ALEA), Norwood, South Australia, pp. 168-180.
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Our contribution to this volume is not on the work of the teacher who inspires the child writer, but the teacher as the writer and illustrator of multilingual texts for classroom use that inspires the child reader. This chapter focuses on a first time teacher writer from Fiji, Bereta , who participated in a two day writing workshop known as the Information Text Awareness Project (hereafter ITAP). This chapter commences with an overview of the ITAP which was conducted in Nadi, Fiji, in 2012 with Bereta and 17 teachers from urban, semi-urban and rural contexts within the Nadi educational district. The politics of presenting Western ways of knowing to teachers from diverse cultural and linguistic contexts via a Western pedagogical approach is explored in the second section. We believe that this work involves a moral dimension that needs careful consideration. The third section outlines the eight stages of ITAP where teacher writers such as Bereta produced an English and a vernacular information text for use in their classrooms. The outline of the eight stages of ITAP is justified with links to the research literature. The final section recounts Bereta’s interview data where she talks about using the newly created English and vernacular information texts in the classroom and the community’s response to her inaugural publications. The findings may be of interest to those seeking to establish an adult writing cooperative to produce English and vernacular information texts for classroom use.
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