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ERIC Number: EJ1023467
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Dec
Pages: 2
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0155-2147
Living Up to Garth Boomer: An Early Career Teacher's Reflection
Wallis, Stephen
English in Australia, v48 n3 p87-88 Dec 2013
Although Garth Boomer spoke of "thresholds of explicitness" (1988, p. 169) beyond which teachers would not venture in the openness of their curriculum design or indeed the nature of the system in which they operate, Stephen Wallis writes in this article that he does believe in student-centred learning and encouraging students to be critical thinkers. As a new scheme teacher on a temporary contract, within the NSW public education system one year out from joining the national curriculum, he asks himself the following questions: (1) How empowered am I, as a new scheme teacher? (2) How honest am I with my students? (3) How honest am I with myself? (4) If negotiated learning implies a conscious process of revealing one's own belief system and one's own agenda before learning can begin how would I go? Wallis describes a short film-making project for a gifted and talented Year 8 Class that he says was the closest he has come in his career to Boomer's vision. The project was cross-curricular and lasted an entire term. To allow the students to fully explore their creativity, the students wrote a film script with a fantasy theme. The collective goal was for the class to make the best short film that they could, and as such required specialisation. Because the school embraced the project, they also worked on aspects of the film production process in art, industrial arts, music, and science classes. The project remains the high water mark of Wallis' teaching career because he had the freedom to define the content, structure, scope, duration, and teaching philosophy of the project. He concludes that negotiated learning in the purest sense is possible, however it requires the right level of teacher freedom and philosophical intent for it to occur.
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: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
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