About stella 2.0

Across the world, governments are introducing wide-ranging policy changes to improve the quality of education, hoping to better prepare young people for an increasingly complex world. Much of the focus is on developing individual teachers and improving the quality of the teaching workforce.

In Australia, governments have introduced a raft of standards-based reforms in order to achieve this: e.g., a national testing program (NAPLAN); the MySchool website; a national curriculum; a set of national professional standards for teachers; and national guidelines for accrediting initial teacher education programs. Across the world and within Australia, research is raising concerns about unintended consequences of these reforms (Darling-Hammond, 2004; Doecke & Parr, 2012; Yandell, 2010). 

The stella 2.0 project is investigating the consequences of these and other standards-based reforms on the work of English teachers and English teacher educators in Victoria.

There are two main aims of the project. The first is to understand how professional and academic environments have changed for English teachers and English teacher educators in the last 10 years or so. Key to this is better understanding the role that standards-based reforms have played in these changes (cf. Doecke, Parr & North, 2008). The second aim is to explore how professional writing, dialogue and collaboration in collegial networks might enable English teachers and teacher educators to negotiate difficult policy and professional environments, and where appropriate to ‘speak back’ to standards-based reforms.

The project brings together two complementary agendas:

  1. The promotion of English teachers’ and teacher educators’ professional learning, and through this the development of English teaching learning communities;  and
  2. An expanded knowledge base of English teaching in Australia through a focused and multi-levelled program of research.  

While stella 2.0 is focused on English teachers and teacher educators in Victoria, the long-term goal is a national project investigating these issues across Australia. Preliminary plans are in place to extend the work to other Australian states, employing already established professional and academic networks. Expanding the pilot project into a national study will be greatly aided by the mapping and theoretical work done in this project.