Communities of practice in the design of a curriculum for student teachers of English

  • Hanlie Dippenaar CPUT
  • Liesel Hibbert CPUT


This article interprets the new Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement for Further Education and Training for teacher education as an opportunity for creating communities of practice, which means viewing teaching and learning as socially situated (Barton, 1994: 68). A transliteracies framework for language development was used (Stornaiuolo, Smith and Phillips (2016: 4), which refers to resemiotisation. Guiterrez (2008) implies that, in an institutionalised learning context, it is acknowledged that multiple discourses come together around a specific task, such as in this case, English education. Multiple intersecting discourses are at play, and individuals develop meaningful connections to each other in the process of collaborative negotiation of meaning. In these communities, certain practices originate, and are developed, perpetuated and discarded, or adapted with the intention of expanding student linguistic and intellectual development. The content of the specific English teacher education curriculum design discussed here, is on globally pertinent issues of political, social and ecological ethics, in an attempt to address existing and persistent hierarchies of power while developing agency, voice, empathy and reflexivity, qualities which may enhance community development. A strong emphasis on critical reading, collaborative argumentation and engagement with text production is proposed, as a means of building community in the classroom. 


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Author Biographies

Hanlie Dippenaar, CPUT
Hanlie Dippenaar is a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Education, CPUT, Wellington, where she lectures English and Curriculum studies. She has been working in the field of Education and Language Teaching for the past 30 years and holds a PhD from the Northwest University in language teaching. Her research interests are in Community Engagement, Academic Service-learning, Language teaching, Computer-assisted Language Support and Academic Writing in Higher Education. She is a co-author of published articles and chapters in books and has presented various papers at national and international conferences. 
Liesel Hibbert, CPUT
Liesel Hibbert is Associate Professor in English Education at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Until March 2016 she was Professor in the Department of Applied Language Studies at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. She received her Ph.D. in Linguistics from the University of Cape Town. Her research spans global trends in youth development and multilingualism, academic and language development in higher education, linguistic ethnography, and South African writing, including children's literature. Her work has been published in Review of Research in Education, English Today, the International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Mannheimer Beitraege zur Sprach und Literaturwissenschaft, and a variety of other local journals.