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The twenty-first century has brought about disruptive changes across all parts of society, providing educators with a variety of opportunities and challenges, including those resulting from a global pandemic. Teachers of literacy and English seek to ensure that their diverse, digitally-connected learners gain the power that they need to effectively navigate the world in which they live—a world of challenge, a world with diverse needs and a world which struggles to make clear just what the ‘truth’ is.

Our conference theme asks us to: consider the changing nature of our practices; bring a critical eye to our work; and think creatively about how to build literacy and English teaching that creates a better world for our students—a world in which they are active, critical and creatively literate citizens. Some questions we seek to explore are:

  • How have changes and disruptions to schooling brought about by COVID-19 impacted students’ literacy and English learning?
  • What is the role of the components of literacy development—including context, grammar, spelling and phonics—where linguistic modes of communication have been challenged by the increased integration of images and sound?
  • How can digital media help us engage students in ‘traditional’ texts and what ‘new’ texts should we be exploring?
  • In what ways does English and literacy education strike a balance between print-based and spoken language experiences?
  • How can we ensure we amplify voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and students from other culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, including refugee and immigrant students?
  • What do we know now about supporting the diversity of student literacies and identities, including those students with learning differences?
  • How can we engage parents, families and communities in student literacy learning in contemporary times, when student well-being is also paramount?
  • Does the Australian Curriculum for English adequately prepare students for a diverse, ‘post-truth’ world?
  • What are implications of the review of the Australian Curriculum and the national testing regime?
  • How will we continue to grapple with the opportunities and challenges provided by an increasingly online world and increasing global influences over education that include high-stakes assessment?
  • How can we develop a strong community of practice to build subject knowledge capabilities in a teaching staff with minimal formal education in the teaching of English?

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