The value of comparative research in an era of standards-based reforms: sustaining a critically reflexive professional praxis. An Australian case study

Brenton Doecke, Graham Parr, Ceridwen Owen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


The impact of standards-based reforms on the professional practice of English teachers in Anglophone settings has been well documented. Such reforms typically foreground the importance of a particular form of English and standardised formulations of curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment, which facilitate easy measurement and comparisons between educational settings at local, national, and international levels. In Australia, the pressures have intensified to such an extent that traditional framings of English teacher practice, which emphasize responsiveness to the cultural and linguistic diversity of students, begin to look like a discourse of a bygone era. From an historical perspective, how has this come about? And what does English teacher practice look like in the current policy environment? Can comparative inquiry into language education, such as has been conducted under the auspices of the International Mother Tongue Education Network (IMEN) over the past four decades, provide intellectual resources to resist relentless pressures towards standardisation and measurement? The collaborative inquiry into the professional practice of one author at the heart of this essay arises out of our attempts to explore the potential of IMEN protocols to render the familiar strange and to see her practice with new eyes. In this way we seek to resist the ways standards-based reforms are radically reshaping the praxis of English educators in Australia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalL1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 May 2024


  • English teaching
  • professional praxis
  • IMEN
  • comparative research
  • mother tongue education

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