Human-Animal Relationships in Literacy Education Reading the Australian Magpie

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Roslyn Appleby


This paper presents a case for the inclusion of human-animal relationships as a focus for literacy education. It outlines the ways in which language is implicated in human alienation from nature in a modern technology-focused life, and discusses the effects of nature-deficit disorder on human well-being. It calls for an ‘entangled pedagogy’ that attends to stories of local wildlife, and points to the importance of such a pedagogy for particular groups of literacy learners, including international students, new migrants and recent refugees, who may be unfamiliar with the flora and fauna of their new environment. As an example of entangled pedagogy the paper presents ideas for literacy lessons based on the iconic Australian magpie whose relationship with humans is, at times, problematic.

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Author Biography

Roslyn Appleby, University of Technology, Sydney

Senior Lecturer in language and literacy.