A principal's perspective on multiliteracies in an Australian show community: implications for learning as rural engagement

Fullerton, Catherine and Danaher, Geoff and Moriarty, Beverley and Danaher, Patrick Alan (2004) A principal's perspective on multiliteracies in an Australian show community: implications for learning as rural engagement. Education in Rural Australia, 14 (2). pp. 69-81. ISSN 1036-0026

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The mobile community that owns and operates ‘sideshow alley’ in Australia’s agricultural show circuits encapsulates both the potential marginalisation and the possible transformation of contemporary education. On the one hand, it was an inflexible and uncomprehending education system that caused many adult show people to suffer the consequences of functional illiteracy. On the other hand, the establishment of the Queensland School for Travelling Show Children in 2000 reflected the aspirations of show people and sympathetic educators that education for mobile groups can be enacted differently.
This different educational enactment is explored through the conceptual lens of a ‘multiliteracies’ framework (Cope & Kalantzis, 2000), which is used to identify and value the complex and diverse forms of sense-making that the show people deploy. 35 people, including educators, students and parents from the Queensland School for Travelling Show Children and the show circuits were interviewed in 2003. This paper focuses on the perspective of the Principal of the school, who was one of the interviewees and also the lead author of this paper. Analysis of these data indicates that, if learning is to contribute to rural engagement, it needs to articulate directly and strategically with the lived experiences of the show people, who are stakeholders in and interdependent with Australian rural communities. Formal learning that embraces and enhances multiliteracies is one significant strategy for promoting education productively – and potentially transformatively – in such communities.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Deposited with blanket permission of Editor.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Education
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2007 00:53
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 22:40
Uncontrolled Keywords: Australia, multiliteracies, principal, Queensland School for Travelling Show Children, rural education, show people
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1604 Human Geography > 160404 Urban and Regional Studies (excl. Planning)
13 Education > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130304 Educational Administration, Management and Leadership
13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130105 Primary Education (excl. Maori)
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/1895

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