The Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund today announced Jantiena Batt, a deputy principal from the ACT, as this year’s Reading Australia Fellow for Teachers of English and Literacy.
The Fellowship was announced during the AATE/ALEA National Conference in Darwin on 9 July by the Copyright Agency’s Head of the Cultural Fund & Reading Australia, Nicola Evans, who was joined by three past Fellowship recipients.
Jantiena Batt is a deputy principal working within the ACT Education Directorate. Her Fellowship project, Windows and Mirrors, will investigate approaches and language used by educators, families and publishers when they engage with literature that includes non-heteronormative structures of families or relationships.
Jantiena says her research will “analyse texts and teaching approaches to ensure that our pedagogy does not inadvertently contribute to the reinforcement of heteronormativity as the dominant discourse.”
The $15,000 Reading Australia Fellowship for Teachers of English and Literacy, supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund, is open to all English and literacy teachers and teacher librarians with at least five years’ experience in a primary or secondary school.
The Copyright Agency’s CEO Josephine Johnston says, “The Fellowship enables teachers to undertake research that not only enhances their skills but also enhances the abilities of educators in the teaching of English and literacy to Australian students.
“The Fellowship offers a significant opportunity for Jantiena Batt to enhance inclusion, recognition and visibility in the classroom. It’s incredibly important that we support projects to embrace inclusive teaching, as it works to remove problematic assumptions and implicit biases. This allows students from all backgrounds to feel equally valued and respected so they can share their own unique stories and perspectives.”
Jantiena says, “This project came about when I was crafting a book orientation. I fell into the trap of identifying the main characters’ sexual orientation, despite the relationship unfolding in the story. I realised that I did not need to include this in the book introduction, and had I been reading a book with a heteronormative family structure I probably wouldn’t have referenced the characters’ sexual orientation. In trying to be inclusive and supportive of all family structures, I was in fact the opposite.
“This Fellowship will aid in providing recommendations when engaging with literature with non-heteronormative relationships. The ultimate benefit of this project is to ensure that there is access to literature that is both a window and mirror for all children, coupled with informed teaching strategies that build inclusion.”
Reading Australia was created by the not-for-profit Copyright Agency in 2013 with the goal of making it easier for teachers, through their passion and skills, to spread a love for Australian texts. It now has 260 resources, covering all year levels from Foundation to Senior Secondary, for books aligned with the Australian Curriculum.
“Equipping educators to embrace the art of storytelling that challenges stereotypes and unconscious biases is powerful learning, and will lead to positive impacts for children,” says Jantiena. “Supporting educators to be active in analysing texts will allow them to address their own conflicts or concerns.”
This year’s applications for the Reading Australia Fellowship for Teachers of English and Literacy were assessed by the following peers: Phil Page, Australian Association for the Teaching of English; Wendy Bean, Australian Literacy Educators’ Association; and Edwina West, recipient of the 2021 Reading Australia Fellowship.
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About the Copyright Agency
The not-for-profit Copyright Agency connects users and creators of content, providing licenses for the use of copyright material such as text, images, art and survey plans. We manage the educational and government licenses for the use of text and images, as well as the resale royalty scheme for artists (by Government appointment). Our members include writers, artists, surveyors and publishers. Membership is free.