Towards professional responsibility for language and literacy: exploring vocational teachers’ emerging language and literacy understandings and identities

Tao Bak
Pauline O'Maley


The role of vocational teachers is complex and evolving (Moodie & Wheelahan 2012). The imperative to also attend to students’ language literacy and numeracy (LLN) skills adds to this complexity. Using data from interviews with eight teachers, this paper explores this emergent space in relation to impacts on their sense of capacity and confidence to attend to LLN, and ways this is being incorporated into a renewed, but often still fragile sense of professional identity (Brookfield 2000). Where the focus of discussion is often on LLN requirements, we concentrate here on the perceptions and experiences of the teachers themselves, and how these insights may inform our approach as LLN specialists. We conclude that vocational teachers appear willing travellers on this journey, but often feel they have a distance to go. We make a case for a collaborative dialogic approach to this shared challenge.

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