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Regulatory gaze and ‘non-sense’ phonics testing in early literacy

Flewitt, Rosie and Roberts-Holmes, Guy (2015) Regulatory gaze and ‘non-sense’ phonics testing in early literacy. In: Multimodality and Governmentality: Negotiating Spaces in Literacy Education. Bloomsbury. (In Press)

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In the context of increasing political intervention in early years and primary assessment in England, this chapter discusses how the power of ‘highly prescriptive systems of accountability’ (Ball, 2013, p173) has drawn early literacy into the state’s regulatory and disciplinary gaze through a process of ‘datafication’ (Roberts-Holmes, 2014). We examine the disciplinary effects of assessment technologies upon early literacy pedagogy through the focussed perspective of one inner-city primary Headteacher discussing the impact of the statutory ‘Phonics Screening Check’ (DfE, 2012a). We critique the multimodal design of this assessment tool for 5-6 year-old children in England, and discuss how some practitioners have ‘cynically complied’ (Bradbury 2013, p124) to new literacy regulations through a process of accommodation and resistance. Whilst this particular assessment technology will no doubt disappear in time from early literacy assessment in England, it serves as an example of how discourses of power infiltrate from political ideology to literacy policy and education practice, undermining professional judgement and moulding children's multimodal experiences of literacy in the primary classroom. We close the chapter by suggesting that Foucault’s conceptualisation of ‘care of the self’ (Foucault, 1988) can create spaces for teacher resistance and agency within imposed régimes of governmental ‘truth’.

Item Type: Book Section
Controlled Keywords: multimodality; early literacy; governmentality; phonics; Foucault
Depositing User: Atira Pure
Date Deposited: 29 Aug 2014 06:56
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2015 09:55
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