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Dr Don Carter


Dr Don Carter has held numerous senior positions in education. Most recently he was senior lecturer in English education at the Australian Catholic University. He has held the position of Inspector, English at the NSW Board of Studies Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) where he was responsible for key projects such as the development of the new English K-10 Syllabus and the Stage 6 English Studies course. Don has also worked as an ESL/Multicultural Education consultant for the Department of Education and has been a head of English in government and non-government schools. His publications include The English Teacher's Handbook A-Z (co-edited with Associate Professor Jackie Manuel) and Imagination, Innovation & Creativity (co-edited with Associate Professor Jackie Manuel, Dr Paul Brock & Professor Wayne Sawyer). 


Romantic Studies Association of Australasia 

- Secondary Schools Representative

Arts, English & Literacy Educators (USYD)

- Member

British Association of Romantic Studies

- Member

Australian College of Educators

- Member

Australian Association for the Teaching of English

- Member

English Teachers' Association NSW

- Member

Australian Teacher Education Association 

- Member

Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia

- Member

Image of Don Carter
Senior Lecturer, Teacher Education Program
Dip.Ed, B.A. (UNSW), M. Ed (USYD)
Member, Australian College of Education
+61 2 9514 5478

Research Interests

Research interests include:

- literacy development

- curriculum histories

- curriculum design

- the influence of Romanticism on curriculum design and pedagogical practice 

- literacy development for primary and secondary students

- writing as creative practice

Can supervise: Yes

Teaching areas include:

 - secondary English teaching

- primary teaching 


Manuel, J., Brock, P., Sawyer, W. & Carter, D. 2009, Imagination, Innovation, Creativity Re-Visioning English in Education, 1st, Phoenix Education, Putney.
The writers in this book - from Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and the United States - have been selected from across a spectrum of excellence in research, scholarship, policy-setting, and practical experience in ...
Carter, D. 2009, The English Teacher's Handbook A to Z, 1st, Phoenix Education, Putney.
This reference book provides teachers and pre-service teachers with a user-friendly, informative guide to the essential terminology distinctive to the subject, with a consistent emphasis on practical classroom teaching and learning ...


Carter, D. 2012, 'Teenagers and reading in school: Some observations onAustralian senior secondary English reading lists' in Manuel, J. (ed), Teenagers and ReadingLiterary heritages, cultural contexts and contemporary reading practices, Wakefield Press, Kent Town, South Australia, pp. 128-141.
Teenagers and Reading: Literary heritages, cultural contexts and contemporary reading practices brings together international research and practical perspectives on the current state of teenagers' reading. The contributions by teachers, researchers and other educators explore the 'what, how, when, where, and why' of adolescents' reading, advancing our understanding of the relationships between and among teenage readers, texts and contexts.
Carter, D. 2009, '"Something Grand and Lustrous": Some Reflections on Creativity in Subject English and Beyond' in Manuel, J., Brock, P., Carter, D. & Sawyer, W. (eds), Imagination, Innovation, Creativity, Phoenix Education, Putney.
Since its institutionalisation as a school subject in the 1800s, English has been marked by the regular recurrence of often polarised and highly contested debates about what does and what should constitute the subject. At certain periods in its history there has been a significant need for a re-evaluation and a subsequent renaissance in English in Education. The editors and the other contributors to this book are convinced that English is in such a period right now. Particularly in the last decade or so, the field of English in Education - in both primary and secondary schooling - has increasingly come under pressure from a range of forces. Not the least of these has been the ever increasing focus on the necessary, but not sufficient, skills of basic literacy - which has had the unfortunate, but often unintended, consequence of threatening to dilute that imaginative, innovative and creative kaleidoscopic richness which characterises the finest English curriculum, teaching and learning. The writers in this book – from Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and the United States - have been selected from across a spectrum of excellence in research, scholarship, policy-setting, and practical experience in English in Education. They are as one in their determination to reclaim and expand the richness and diversity of the subject English, as they are richly diverse in their own expertise in the field of English in Education. Their essays collectively stress the importance of reconnecting and re-engaging with what teachers love about English: its unique capacity to engage the mind, the spirit and the heart; to stimulate imagination, curiosity and creative capacities through meaningful immersion in the stories of humanity; and to enrich and develop students' cognitive and affective command and understanding of language in all its expansive dimensions, contexts and purposes.

Journal articles

Yoo, J., Carter, D. & Larkin, J. 2017, 'Making research relevant through an engagement of identities', Issues in educational research, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 381-398.
This paper is based on a research project designed to cultivate teachers as creative writers and as teachers of creative and critical writing. The project involved both primary and secondary teachers from eight schools located in Sydney, Australia. It documents the evolution of an open-ended research project that aimed to accommodate the needs of external stakeholders, participating teachers, and project researchers. It describes the development of a 'professional learning community' formed between the researchers and participants who identified as creative teachers and writers. It also explores how the research project acts as an example of how knowledge production can develop communities of practice via on-going collaboration with stakeholders. The authors highlight the complexities of conducting open-ended research that meets the emergent needs of specific communities of practice
Yoo, J. & Carter, D. 2017, 'Teacher Emotion and Learning as Praxis: Professional Development that Matters', Australian Journal of Teacher Education, vol. 42, no. 3, pp. 38-52.
View/Download from: Publisher's site
Carter, D. 2016, 'Retrieving the forgotten influence of Herbart on subject English', English Teaching: Practice and Critique, vol. 15, no. 1.
The purpose of this paper is to examine the strong influence of Herbartian ideas on the first secondary English course (1911) in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. While previous research has established the influence of the 'New Education' on the (NSW Director General of Education, Peter Board, the architect of the) 1911 courses, no specific analysis of Johann Friedrich Herbart's educational ideas has been undertaken in relation to this seminal secondary English course.
Manuel, J. & Carter, D. 2016, 'Sustaining hope and possibility: Early-career English teachers' perspectives on their first years of teaching', English in Australia, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 91-103.
View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This paper reports on the findings from a study with 22 early-career secondary school English teachers in New South Wales, Australia. Against the backdrop of increased attention to the patterns of teacher recruitment, retention and attrition, the present research sought beginning teachers' perspectives on the extent to which their initial motivations for entering the profession had been sustained, affirmed, challenged or modified by their teaching experience. A questionnaire was utilised to gather data on initial motivations to teach; beliefs and values informing the decision to teach; the challenges and rewards of early-career teaching experiences; attitudes to the current official state English curriculum; levels of personal and professional satisfaction with the role; and career intentions. An analysis of the questionnaire responses identified the primacy of altruistic and intrinsic factors in the initial decision to become a teacher. Responses to questions about their early-career experiences revealed that for a significant proportion of teachers, their initial aspirations, expectations and goals had been disrupted to a greater or lesser degree by a range of contextually-contingent forces. Half of the sample indicated that their sense of professional agency had been undermined by the pressures associated with preparing students for high-stakes external examinations and their marginalisation from decision-making processes that impact upon their classroom practice. More than a third of the sample disagreed or were 'unsure' that they would be teaching for another five years. Given the reported rates of early-career teacher attrition of between 20 and 50%, the findings from the present study offer additional evidence of the factors that can influence early-career teachers' decisions about their career futures and are therefore of value to ongoing revisions of teacher recruitment and retention policies and practice.
Manuel, J. & Carter, D. 2015, ''I had been given the space to grow: An innovative model of assessment in subject English in New South Wales, Australia', English Teaching: Practice and Critique, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 100-120.
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Purpose – This paper aims to provide a critical interpretative analysis of an innovative model of assessment in subject English in New South Wales, Australia. The purpose of this paper is to explore the theoretical and practical dimensions of assessment in the English Extension 2 course. This course forms part of suite of senior secondary English courses within the Higher School Certificate program that includes high-stakes external examination. Design/methodology/approach – The paper draws on methods of documentary analysis. It sits within the tradition of curriculum research that critiques pre-active curriculum documents as a primary source for interpreting the theoretical and pedagogical principles and assumptions encoded in such documents. A social constructionist approach informs the analysis. Findings – The model of assessment in the New South Wales (NSW) English Extension 2 course provides students with the opportunity to engage in sustained research and the production of a major piece of work. In its emphasis on student creativity, reflective practice, metacognition and independent research, the course exemplifies the ways in which the principle of assessing both process and product as organic is achievable in a context of high-stakes external examinations. Originality/value – In an era of high-stakes, external and standardised testing regimes, this paper challenges the normative definitions of assessment prevalent in secondary schools, particularly at the senior secondary level. The assessment model underpinning the NSW English Extension 2 course offers a robust alternative to the increasingly prescriptive models evident in current education policy and practice. The paper calls for renewed attention to the potential for such a model of authentic assessment to be considered in the assessment programs of other subjects constituting the curriculum.
Manuel, J. & Carter, D. 2015, 'Current and historical perspectives on Australian teenagers' reading practices and preferences', Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, vol. 38, no. 2, pp. 115-128.
A recent piece in the 'Australian Financial Review' (2014) reported that national book industry sales figures were being 'propped up' by 'young adult fiction - and its teen fans': 'young adult fiction sales are up 26% this financial year, while adult fiction has declined by 11%' (p. 3). Book industry sales point to a flourishing young adult fiction market, depicting various trends in intentional reading preferences. From these statistics, however, it cannot be assumed that purchase patterns in any category of books are directly indicative of young people's actual reading lives, within and beyond the parameters of formal school-based education.
Carter, D. 2013, 'Ars Poetica, Romanticism and English education: Poetic inheritances in the senior secondary English curriculum in New South Wales, Australia', English Teaching, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 46-63.
Poetry, as a textual form for critical study and composition, continues to occupy a significant place in Australian senior secondary English syllabus documents and classrooms (cf. Carter, 2012). Indeed, within the senior secondary English syllabus in New South Wales (NSW), poetry remains one of the core mandatory types of texts for study by the majority of students seeking matriculation, thus signalling its enduring position in the conceptualisation and identity of subject English in this Australian curricular context. But poetry is not only a constituent of the NSW formal curriculum in terms of content: poetry - specifically the "epistemic assumptions" (Reid, 2002, p. 21) inscribed in poetry from the Romantic period of English literature - has been encoded in the "disciplinary norms" (p. 21) of the subject itself. This paper examines those poetic inheritances at work in the curricular design, intent and substance of the English Extension 2 course, which forms part of the suite of senior secondary English courses offered in NSW - the English Stage 6 Syllabus (Board of Studies NSW, 1999). The paper reorients our attention as educators to the legacy of Romantic ars poetica to English in the 21st century classroom and proposes ways in which this legacy can be actively reclaimed at the service of holistic, student-centred learning and achievement. © 2013.
Catholic Education Office (Wollongong)