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ERIC Number: EJ1023441
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Dec
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0155-2147
Reflections on the Epic Challenge, 1989
Meiers, Marion
English in Australia, v48 n3 p25-26 Dec 2013
In this article, Marion Meiers reflects on the often-cited address "Literacy: The Epic Challenge Beyond Progressivism" by Garth Boomer at the 1989 joint National Conference of the Australian Reading Association (now the Australian Literacy Educator's Association) and the Australian Association for the Teaching of English at Darin High School. Back then, as a classroom teacher with several years' experience as a curriculum consultant, the address was unforgettable. Garth Boomer dramatically engaged the audience in his exploration and boundary riding, and his search for new frontiers. Meiers adds that more than three decades later, "we [educators] may not yet have reached the frontiers he was seeking." The purpose of Boomer's address was to "push out the borders," to become involved in the "battle for better literacy," and to consider the political challenges involved. His discussion of "progressivism and radicalism" focused on progressive teaching as reflecting on, and then acting on new insights on "the art and science of teaching." Her re-reading of the address raises many questions and a remembrance of one telling example--despite the rhetoric and courses and good intentions, teachers have not made substantial gains in teaching literacy to Aboriginal children, children from low socio-economic backgrounds. For the 21st century reader, there has been a failure to meet the challenge that Garth Boomer identified. Meiers concludes that Boomer's epic address of 1989 will continue to evoke reflections in her, especially in the context of educational research and will encourage her to think deeply about the challenges raised.
Australian Association for the Teaching of English. English House, 416 Magill Road, Kensington Gardens, SA 5068 Australia. Tel: +61-8-8332-2845; Fax: +61-8-8333-0394; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Journal Articles
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A