Garth Boomer (died 1993) was an influential educationalist working in Australia. Since 1995 there has been a Garth Boomer Memorial Lecture in his honour. He was particularly influential in the teaching of English, and he was President of the Australian Association for the Teaching of English for a time.
He was born on 12 September 1940 at Mount Barker, South Australia. He was a son of South Australian-born parents Charlemagne Carlyle Guilford Boomer, who was a brickmaker, and Rita Ivy, née Miels. He received his primary education at Littlehampton Primary School and Adelaide Boys High Schools. He graduated with honors from Adelaide University in 1962, where he received his B.A degree.
After graduation he was a teacher of English, Latin and Mathematics in South Australian State secondary schools. Later he became the first consultant in English in South Australia. He complete his M.A at the London Institute of Education in 1972-73.
In 1980 he became a Director of Wattle Park Teachers Centre, which was the curriculum and teacher development centre for the South Australian system. In 1984 he moved to Canberra, where he got a position of Director of the Curriculum Development Centre. A year later, in 1985 he became Chairman of the Commonwealth Schools Commission. In 1988 he got a position of a Chairman of the Schools Council, one of four councils of the National Board of Employment, Education and Training. In July this year he came back South Australia to serve as an Associate Director-General of Education. From 1981 till 1984 he was a President of the Australian Association for the Teaching of English. From 1983 till 1985 he also was a chair of the International Federation for the Teaching of English. From 1989 till 1993 he was the South Australian representative and vice-chairman of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation. He contributed to the creation of Lift Off, which was an innovative approach to children’s television.
He was awarded Life Membership at AATE(Australian Association for Teaching English) in 1977. He died because of brain cancer on 16 July 1993 in the Daw House Hospice, Adelaide, and later he was cremated. One of the education faculty buildings at the University of South Australia was named after him.
On 2 January 1965 he got married to Jean Graham McNaught, who was a teacher at the Albert Street Methodist Church, Brisbane. They had 2 daughters and a son.
Boomer's works include:
- Designs on learning : essays on curriculum and teaching, with Bill Green (ISBN 1-875864-31-8)
- Changing education : reflections on national issues in education in Australia (ISBN 0-642-10066-7)
- Creativity in education : making things (ISBN 0-9593339-2-4)
- Fair Dinkum Teaching and Learning: Reflections on Literacy and Power (ISBN 0-86709-139-8)
- Metaphors and meanings : essays on English teaching, with Bill Green (ISBN 0-909955-82-4)
- Negotiating the curriculum : a teacher-student partnership (ISBN 0-86896-166-3)
- Negotiating the curriculum : educating for the 21st century, with Garth Lester, Nancy Onore, Cynthia Cook, Jonathan (ISBN 1-85000-931-7)
- Orange moon, with Peter W McFarlane (ISBN 0-7270-0032-2)
- The endless circle, with Morris Hood (ISBN 0-582-68061-1)
- The runaway sun, with Morris Hood (ISBN 0-582-68057-3)
- The spitting image, with Dale Spender (ISBN 0-7270-0162-0)
- Themes and images : a series of photographic stimuli for talking and writing (ISBN 0-909773-20-3)
- A tribute to Garth Boomer, Australian Association for the Teaching of English (AATE)
- Garth Boomer Award, Australian Curriculum Studies Association Incorporated (ACSA)
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