Alex Bacalja

Alex Bacalja
University of Melbourne | MSD · Melbourne Graduate School for Education

PhD

About

35
Publications
5,554
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79
Citations
Citations since 2016
33 Research Items
79 Citations
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Introduction
Alex Bacalja is a lecturer in language and literacy at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, and coordinates English Method and Literacy subjects within the Master of Teaching (Secondary) program. He has worked for over a decade in secondary schools across Melbourne in both teaching and leadership roles. Alex’s research focuses on contemporary literacies, including the digital literacies taught and practiced in school and work environments. His recently published PhD studied the place of video game literacies within the context of subject-English teaching.

Publications

Publications (35)
Article
It is well established that literacy as a social practice is fundamental to supporting and facilitating student learning across the years of schooling, and research has shown the importance of all teachers understanding the literacies of their learning areas and being able to mobilise effective literacy practices to support student learning outcome...
Article
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This paper explores how changing digital literacy practices in educational contexts require that we continually revisit conceptualisations of digital literacy education. We begin by analysing the positions taken by stakeholders who contribute to digital literacy discourses in Australia, exploring how competing interests produce effects which manife...
Article
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This paper reviews research into the use of digital games in the L1 English classroom. It deals specifically with qualitative case study research investigating the potentialities of these new social, cultural and tex-tual forms. The aim is to provide a critical review of the research to identify how teachers have been using these new forms of meani...
Article
Many studies have reported the disruption and anxiety associated with initial teacher education programs across the world lurching in and out of online and remote teaching because of COVID-19 related lockdowns. Few studies, however, have homed in on the day-today experiences of teacher educators in particular disciplinary specialisms or 'methods',...
Conference Paper
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Postcolonial literary theorists have used the term ‘worlding’ to explain the effects all texts have in world-making. Edward Said (1983) argues that all texts are worldy, because they are compiled, composed and read in the world, while for Hayot (2012), worlding is not an act of replication or capture, but inclusion and exclusion, “To world is to en...
Article
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This article is a collective response to the 2020 iteration of The Manifesto for Teaching Online. Originally published in 2011 as 20 simple but provocative statements, the aim was, and continues to be, to critically challenge the normalization of education as techno-corporate enterprise and the failure to properly account for digital methods in tea...
Article
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Ideological struggles over the policy and practice of literacy education continue to characterise the field. This paper explores how ‘new policy actors’, market-orientated and profit-driven players, construct the crisis of literacy and schooling in Australia to reclaim the doxa of literacy education. The concept of doxa is employed to show how rece...
Chapter
Full-text available
Digital games represent ubiquitous forms of everyday social and cultural activity. Young people are engaging with these texts across a range of physical and digital spaces, and the speed with which digital game literacies have evolved has raised questions about how teachers can support their students to be critical participants in a digital game li...
Article
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This paper explores how Australian literature mandated for study in the Victorian senior English curriculum creates opportunities for problematising central myths about Australia. We engage with Homi Bhabha’s notion of ambivalence to demonstrate how representations of colonisation, rurality and migration reflect discursive formations of Australia....
Article
Many studies have reported on the disruption and anxiety associated with initial teacher education programs across the world lurching in and out of online and remote teaching because of COVID-19 related lockdowns. Few studies, however, home in on the day-to-day experiences of teacher educators in particular disciplinary specialisms/methods, or expl...
Chapter
Full-text available
English classrooms represent an important source of language learning for a diversity of students. This work has always been supported by texts which mediate classroom teaching that engages with identity, subjectivity and the cultivation of dispositions, attitudes and values (Beavis 2018). In recent times, debates about what constitutes a text, wor...
Article
Full-text available
This paper explores the continued cultural consecration of narrow forms of knowledge and literate practice in senior Australian English curricula. Despite the prevalence of Personal Growth approaches to English throughout Australia in the latter decades of the Twentieth century, the analysis of curricula reveals a contradiction between stated goals...
Article
Full-text available
Ongoing questions about the nature of subject English have often focussed on the subject's ability to adapt and accommodate 21st century literacies. Popular and digital forms of texts, such as videogames, are often praised for their ability to engage students, yet the novelty of this work has resulted in a lack of emphasis on the pedagogies necessa...
Article
Full-text available
This paper explores the learning affordances associated with Gee’s notion of the projective identity principle. A case study introducing game-as-text into the English classroom is used to explore how the relationship between virtual and real-world identities is mediated by student habitus, game design, and classroom pedagogy.
Article
Full-text available
Young people write themselves into being through online forms of expression characterised by literate digital practices. This paper focuses on the characteristics of writing in authentic digital spaces. It begins by introducing new understandings about writing, summarising the research literature associated with new literacies and the impact of new...
Article
Full-text available
This paper reports findings from a research project investigating text lists in the Senior Victorian English curriculum between 2010 and 2019. Policy documents emphasise the need for the English curriculum to foster values of inclusivity and diversity of culture and for texts that reflect these values in constructive and affirmative senses. In orde...
Preprint
Full-text available
Young people write themselves into being through online forms of expression characterised by literate digital practices. This paper focuses on the characteristics of writing in authentic digital spaces. It begins by introducing new understandings about writing, summarising the research literature associated with new literacies and the impact of new...
Preprint
Full-text available
Ongoing questions about the nature of subject English have often focussed on the subject’s ability to adapt and accommodate 21st century literacies. Increasingly popular and digital forms of texts, such as videogames, are often praised for their ability to engage students, yet less is understood about the pedagogies necessary for the rigorous study...
Preprint
Full-text available
English classrooms represent an important source of language learning for a diversity of students. This work has always been supported by texts which mediate classroom teaching that engages with identity, subjectivity and the cultivation of dispositions, attitudes and values (Beavis 2018). In recent times, debates about what constitutes a text, wor...
Article
Full-text available
This paper reports ndings from a study investigating trends in character, historical setting, authorship and themes across Victorian Certi cate of Education (VCE) text selection lists between 2010 and 2019. We address the ctionalisation and imagining of Australian history through narratives about Indigeneity and settler-colonisation. While we will...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
As the growth of digital device ownership amongst today’s students has increased, English teachers face questions about what role digital texts might play in the English classroom as objects of study.
Article
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This non-peer reviewed article explores the range of textual possibilities associated with English. It asks questions about the political and cultural factors informing text-selection decisions, as well as advocating for new media texts as objects for study in the classroom.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents initial findings from a qualitative eight-week case study which introduced one digital game, Never Alone (Upper One Games, 2014) into the English classroom of an Australian secondary school for sustained play and study. The notion that digital games represent forms of cultural production worthy of study and attention within scho...
Article
Full-text available
This paper reports on a participatory action research project which used videogames as the central texts for play and study in a middle-years English classroom in Australia. Ongoing questions about the nature of subject English have often focused on the discipline's ability to accommodate twenty-first century literacies. Videogames, as increasingly...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper reports on a research project incorporating videogames into the English classroom for play and study. Videogames have long been lauded for their capacity to engage audiences through immersive gameplay and rich narratives (Bogost, 2007; Gee, 2004). This work tends to privilege the interactive elements of gameplay and the impact of rich te...
Article
Full-text available
Through the proliferation of digital technologies and the increasing accessibility of video games, young people are engaging with these texts today, more than ever. However, there is a growing concern regarding what exactly young people are taking away from these textual experiences. This paper responds to the call made by Comber (1993), to documen...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This aim of this paper is to outline the theoretical perspectives that will shape my upcoming research into the critical study of video games in the English classroom. It will begin by highlighting the changing textual world in which young people now interact, focussing in particular on digital and electronic practices such as videogames. Secondly,...

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Projects

Projects (2)
Project
The purpose of this project is to investigate text-list trends in the Senior Victorian English curriculum between 2010 and 2019. It involves the collation and analysis of 360 texts according to a range of factors, including: text-type, setting, protagonist, themes, and author. It addresses the research question: What are the trends in VCE English text lists between 2010 and 2019? The project addresses the implications of these trends, and advocates for greater diversity when it comes to discussions about which texts should be included in the senior English curriculum.
Project
The project seeks to understand how subject-English teachers conceptualise digital literacy. It will use semi-structured interviews with practising teachers across several schools.