Where have we received the concept of Asia literacy from and how have teachers in Australian schools appropriated this concept? These are the questions that this chapter endeavours to address, focusing on the contested nature of Asia literacy, on the politics of teacher professionalism and on the ethics of professional practice. One can already detect a sense of aporetic tension in the way I have posed these questions about Asia literacy – a contradiction between its politics and ethics or, more to the point, between the economic utility of Asia literacy for the nation and its potential for socially just and culturally responsive education in schools. The nature of this contradiction lies essentially in the logic of the concept of Asia literacy and in how the Asian Other is perceived. That is to say, the construction of what counts as Asia literacy inevitably evokes a set of binary distinctions between literacy as a set of skills and knowledge about the Other (i.e., the literacy of knowing-about-ness) and literacy as social practice (i.e., the intercultural literacy of living and learning with others). Asia literacy for teachers, as I argue in this chapter, takes therefore the form of the double imperative and their teaching includes an injunction of accountability for economically driven learning outcomes and responsibility for a culturally inclusive teaching practice. Teachers are caught, as it were, in dealing with the dilemma of being accountable for the Asia-related skills of the future workforce while being responsible for teaching to difference in multicultural classrooms. This is, in its essence, an ethical dilemma for the teaching profession; a quandary between the culture of educational accountability and the relational culture of everyday teaching practice.
|Title of host publication||Asia Literate Schooling in the Asian Century|
|Place of Publication||New York NY USA|
|Number of pages||14|
|Publication status||Published - 10 Apr 2015|
|Name||Routledge Series on Schools and Schooling in Asia|