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