Papers & Workshops



A Culture of Critique?: A Postmodern Look at a Senior English Department of a Secondary School


Graham Parr

Department of Learning and Educational Development, University of Melbourne, Australia

It is characteristic of the so-called 'New Times' that while debates continue about the efficacy of Critical pedagogy in the classroom, the role of the aesthetic in reading and the value of notions of the postmodern community (Furmann, 1993), the political imperative is for schools to become increasingly corporate in structure. The ramifications for this are that curriculum must evolve from discrete outcomes, thus apparently rendering teaching and learning more accountable. Against this tide of revisionist thinking some English departments are wrestling with the paradoxes of critical literacy and a 'dangerous' pedagogy which still acknowledges that no teaching can be politically neutral (Freire, 1987 ), and which indeed encourages students to intelligently critique everything from the values and beliefs underpinning their own classroom and school, to the ideologies propelling political change on a wider field. This raises all sorts of questions about power which may be seen as subversive to the corporatisation of learning. This paper examines these competing debates through a postmodern consideration of one senior English department in Melbourne.
  Presentation Format: 45 min. paper

RMIT, Melbourne, Australia

5-9 July 2000