Sunday P2: Teaching literature in the 21st century: What does this mean for English teachers?

What is the role of literature in contemporary classrooms? What is literary knowledge, and do teachers need to have it? What is the connection between literature and English teachers’ professional identity? This panel emerges from the ARC Discovery Project ‘Investigating Literary Knowledge in the Making of English Teachers’ (DP160101084). Presenters will consider the priorities for teachers and the challenges they face when they engage with literature in their classrooms. Three chief investigators from the project will report on findings from the ARC project survey and interviews and will be joined in conversation with two secondary English teachers at different career stages who will reflect on what project findings mean for their professional practice.


Larissa McLean Davies

Larissa McLean Davies is a leading Australian academic in literary education, with her research spanning the fields of literary studies and English education. Larissa is currently Associate Professor – Language and Literacy Education and Associate Dean – Learning and Teaching and at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. Larissa is also the lead Chief Investigator of the ARC Discovery Project Investigating Literary Knowledge in the Making of English Teachers.



Brenton Doecke

Brenton Doecke is an Emeritus Professor in the School of Education at Deakin University. Brenton has a PhD in Literary Studies and has published widely in the fields of teacher education and English curriculum and pedagogy. His research has involved a sustained focus on the professional learning and identity of teachers within a policy context shaped by standards-based reforms, including his work on the Standards for Teachers of English Language and Literacy in Australia (STELLA), and many other projects.

Philip Mead

Philip Mead is inaugural Chair of Australian Literature and Director of the Westerly Centre at the University of Western Australia. Philip teaches Australian literary studies and English units in the Master of Curriculum Studies (English) course, a collaborative course between the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Education. Philip’s research is at the intersection of national and transnational literary studies, cultural history and theory, poetics, literary education, and digital humanities.

Wayne Sawyer

Wayne Sawyer is Professor of Education at Western Sydney University where he is a senior researcher in the Centre for Educational Research. He has a background in both literature and English education and was formerly a Head Teacher of English in Western Sydney.  His research interests include secondary English education, curriculum history in English, the teacher-as-researcher, and engaging pedagogies in low-SES contexts.