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Teaching Asian-Australian identities using literature

Cole, DR 2007 , 'Teaching Asian-Australian identities using literature' , Literacy learning: the Middle Years, vol. 15, no. 3 , pp. 29-39 .

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One of the most critical issues for English teachers in Australia concerns teaching
Asian-Australian identities. This paper will take a literary approach to this topic, and
use Only the Heart by Brian Caswell and David Phu An Chiem (1997), and Dreaming
Australia by Steve Tolbert (2004) as pedagogic tools. These texts are starting points
for discussing the many intersections between Asian and Australian identities. The
emphasis of this paper is on perceptions of Asian-Australian identities amongst young
people, and how these can be used by English teachers to create worthwhile and
exciting learning environments. The theoretical approach that will be elaborated is
based upon a poststructural reading of textual practice, so that students relate bookstudy
to identity-construction. In this instance, this means that the students will
understand the ethical and cultural distinctions that are present in the texts, yet these
will not be placed into hierarchical or fixed structures. Rather, students following
these themes will be encouraged to engage with the other, and to look at Asian-
Australian identities from a variety of perspectives. At each critical point or issue in
the texts, the dynamic and moving basis for teaching Asian-Australian identities will
be emphasised.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Cole, DR
Journal or Publication Title: Literacy learning: the Middle Years
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