Teaching Australian Literature in Western Australia
In recent years, various studies have drawn attention to a lack of Australian literature being taught in secondary classrooms in Australia, with these findings often attributed to teachers’ minimal experience of Australian texts during their senior secondary and tertiary education. This paper draws on a state-wide study of texts studied in Year 12 English and Literature classrooms in Western Australia in 2018, which revealed that Australian works, and particularly Western Australian texts, were popular inclusions for study. The externally examined English course in WA not having a prescribed text list, yet this condition of text list expansion does not necessarily ensure that a wider variety of texts will be studied in schools. This paper explores some possible explanations for this situation by referring to sites of sociability and to the work of John Guillory on canonicity and cultural capital (1993), to consider the impact of a parochial canon on Western Australian English subjects.
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