The place of English: the K-10 English Syllabus in NSW


Louise Ward (NSW, Board of Studies)

This was a session focused on English implementation in NSW.  NSW is still in familiarisation mode with English, 2014 for Years 7 and 9, 2015 for Years 8 and 10. I suddenly felt that the first 30 slides of my own presentation coming up next were now redundant. Gulp.

Ward spoke of the ‘challenge’ of being ‘required’ to include elements of syllabus that ‘were written by someone else’. ‘We had no choice’. Yeah, that seems pretty much how NSW has seen this exercise, I think. As in, dragged to it, kicking and screaming.

She emphasised the ‘familiarity’ of the document, for teachers. Teachers should feel ‘comfortable’, this is an opportunity to refresh and renew, not replace. Okay. Maybe some discomfort would be a good proximal learning moment?

Ward argued that the rationale for English has not changed: the students are at the centre. (good) But it was interesting to hear her emphasis on ‘explicit instruction’ and mandatory Shakespeare, which you would probably not hear in Victoria. She criticised the ‘silo’ approach of the ACARA strands, and how NSW stayed with what they knew and valued (stages rather than years, strands incorporated under outcomes).

The NSW organisation of content was shown as a multi-coloured kind of pin-wheel of the kind I can never really read.It looked a bit like the IB coloured pin-wheel, which I also cannot read.

Interestingly, they moved in English from 11 outcomes to 9, deleting technology as a stand-alone outcome. And here endeth the Education Revolution.

Ward was very enthuasiastic about a new resource that  has just been launched: Suggested texts for English k-10.

Photo: Place by Warrick

Talking about persuasive writing



And, to give perfectly equal limelight, I should mention too that I’m also presenting on persuasive writing techniques for English teachers at a couple of Nelson Secondary sessions. Persuasive writing is pretty important in the Victorian Certificate of Education English course and, of course, is now included in NAPLAN (national testing). So that’s been keeping me busy too.

If you’re in Melbourne and you want to come along, details are here.

English Teaching is IT (*new blog)

You don’t have to dig too far down the blogroll links to see how immersed I’ve become in the digital world: blogs, wikis, nings (x3), websites, twitter …

So, it was with some deep thought that I got involved in yet another blog, but I did! This idea came about on a bike ride a couple of weeks ago, chatting to another  English teacher named David Baxter about some of the ideas he’d been using in the classroom and talking also about what I was doing. He’s the teacher I blogged about a little while ago in m provocative 😐 Tale of Two Teachers post (it was the best of times, it was the worst of times)

Anyway, we thought it might be good to collaborate on a blog aimed at English teachers looking to use technology in the classroom, a blog that would be more practical and tips based than the meandering theorising that mostly goes on here, but looking at things that work, and some that don’t. Hence English Teaching is IT was born. It’s on WordPress, its up and running, and I hope it’s useful for English teachers and others too. I hope you’ll take a look and maybe even subscribe.  While I  expect there’ll be some cross-over with what I’m writing about here, the focus of the new blog is on the classroom, and tools that work for English teaching and beyond.

English Teaching is IT