Posts Tagged ETA
I know I just finished saying that my blog would mostly be used for PBL reflection in the near future.
But there is a new resource available for English teachers and English curriculum boffins that I must share immediately.
The English Teachers Association NSW, in partnership with the NSW Department of Education, have created a resource for programming in K-10 English.
It is organised in ‘stages’ (rather than in year levels), but once you get your head around stage 5 = year 9 & 10, stage 4 = year 7 & 8, and backward in pairs from there, you will get the picture.
The creators of this resource analysed the NSW English syllabus (which in theory maps on to the Australian Curriculum) to identify core concepts and processes implied by the curriculum documents.
The 15 ‘textual concepts‘ are:
- code and convention
- connotation, imagery and symbol
- literary value
- point of view
And the six ‘learning processes‘ are:
- engaging personally
- engaging critically
There are questions that jump to mind for me when looking at this resource, including:
- how are the ‘learning processes’ intended to interact/overlap with the ‘general capabilities‘ in the Australian Curriculum?
- where do ‘language mode’ and ‘medium of production’ fit into these concepts? Is it in ‘code and convention’, or…?
Overall I am excited by this contribution to English curriculum understandings. The conversations it will make possible between primary and secondary English are especially promising!
How might this approach to English subject content (knowledge and skills) interface with the curriculum (Australian Curriculum or otherwise) being used in your area? It’s been designed for NSW obviously, but could it have application beyond there?
The holiday break and a fresh term starting has brought mailouts from both associations my way.
This is a show-and-tell of what was in the respective packs.
Both mailouts contained information about Literacy and Numeracy Week, which this year has as it’s theme ‘The Fundamentals are Fun!’ (hmmm, invoking fundamentalism to talk about literacy…looking forward to critiquing that), as well as a catalogue of publications available from the AATE Bookshop.
The impetus for each mailouot is sending members the newest issue of the association journal. While I like the style of the NSW journal mETAphor better (the ETAQ journal is full of Arial font and the cover design could be developed, imho), I have to say I am really satisfied with the content and tone of Words’Worth, and look forward to contributing some material myself in future. Unlike in NSW, ETAQ doesn’t have resources to pay contributors for their articles (yet), but nevertheless the collegial spirit in the association currently ensures a flow of material to sustain the publication.
Both associations also included their annual state conference program notices. Seems like August is the flavour of the month…of the month… (?)
Here is a comparison of the two conferences (I’ll be at ETAQ, but wish I could get down for the NSW one too, bummer!):
ETAQ State Conference: English and Generation Next
- Saturday 20th August 2011
- 8.15am – 5.00pm
- Lourdes Hill College, Hawthorne
- Cost to members: $143 (presenters $44; students and pensioners $66)
- Keynote speaker – Professor Peter Holbrook ‘Literature, Literacy, the Imagination, Freedom’
ETA (NSW) Annual Conference: Makinig Connections That Count
- Friday 5th & Saturday 6th August 2011
- 9am-4pm / 9.30am-3pm
- Australia Technology Park, Eveleigh
- Cost to members: $290 one-day / $430 two-day (presenters register free)
- Ken Watson Address – Dr Felicity Plunkett ‘Blood and Bone: An Anatomy of Wreading’
In today’s conference workshop I will be exploring four important issues relating to learning and teaching strategies for using online tools:
- How the purpose of your site relates to its form
- The intended teacher-student dynamic online
- Students and internet safety
- Getting students involved and monitoring contributions
Please respond with comments to this post if you have any questions, information or anecdotes from your own teaching context.
(from the ETA Annual Conference @ UNSW )
There are some great ideas here – I especially like the entry on Externalising Ourselves. I am going to use a quote from this in my ETA Conference presentation on Saturday about Online Learning and Pedagogy:
The ability to connect concepts and ideas and to understand and be understood by others requires that we render our thoughts in some type of format that permits communication. The development of symbols, language, and writing permits externalization of thought and thereby the capacity to create and network concepts and ideas.
The same wiki page also has a link to a very interesting document about Connectivism as a Learning Theory. I had to laugh at the title, as it sums up so many arguments discussions I have had with people about using online tools, for teaching or otherwise: ‘Connectivism: Learning Theory, or Pastime of the Self-Amused’!
Hmmm. I wonder, what is more likely…
- That English teachers hate books, OR that they think students need to know how to understand and create spoken and visual language as well?
- That English teachers hate books, OR that they LOVE books, as well as films, poems, webpages, plays and TV shows?
- That English teachers hate Australian books, OR that they LOVE Australian books…AND films, poems, webpages, plays and TV shows!?
- That English teachers don’t want students to read books anymore, OR that they LOVE it when students read books, but don’t want politicians and journalists dictating when and where books are used in their teaching program?
Devine quotes author Sophie Masson, who believes that English teachers have a “subconscious hate and envy of writers” – this is of course why we all hate books, and are hell-bent on destroying LIT-RIT-YOOR for students today.
Masson is also quoted (as speaking on behalf of all English teachers), because some teachers have told her at writing workshops that the HSC is too hard. Devine describes with horror that “there is a huge burden on [teachers] to comply with curriculum rules and what has to be accomplished in a year.” Well, yes. I agree – but this has less to do with having to teach ‘theory’, and more to do with what we are forced to cram into the HSC year because politicians insist on setting the bar so high to protect the reputation of NSW’s ‘world class curriculum’! If parents want an easier HSC, they need to tell the politicians…they will get my support, but Devine is likely to slam them in the SMH for want to ‘dumb down’ they syllabus…
Speaking of dumbing down, Devine also quotes her mate Big Kev Donnolly, who along with Devine perhaps has a subconscious hate and envy of good English teachers who sees any attempt to teach spoken or visual language as “social activism”. At what point will the Sydney Morning Herald stop giving air to journos that are so out of touch??
If the English curriculum only covered written language – books, poems and plays – it would be a very disengaging subject indeed, not to mention totally irrelevant in our contemporary world. Miranda Devine is of the opinion that ‘words are words’ whether in a book or on a screen. How utterly ignorant. If Miranda Devine is serious about encouraging a love of language (as I truly believe she is, in her own misguided way) she would be better off getting behind English teachers who want to teach MORE language forms, not LESS.
The ETA’s response to the Board of Studies’ proposal to ‘Strengthen Australian Literature’ actually argues the following:
- ETA members do not believe that there is any need to impose further restrictions on professional choice and judgement than those that are already in English syllabuses.
- ETA members believe that any definition of ‘Australian’ needs to see Australia in a global context , and to take account of Indigenous and multicultural perspectives.
- ETA members feel strongly that a definition of literature with a restriction to the print medium is imprudent, reductive, short-sighted and, most importantly, undermines the integrity of current English syllabuses.
- ETA members believe that the amendments to the K-6 English syllabus do not provide the richness of direction required for non-specialist English teachers particularly in the areas of what could constitute literature and the kinds of creative responses it may inspire. They also think that teacher professionalism needs to be acknowledged by specifying their involvement in the development of recommended text lists.
- Members are particularly concerned at the narrowing of the definition of literature in the syllabus [to mean only print texts – books, poems and plays] and believe that strengthening the inclusions in the syllabus restricts the capacity of teachers to effectively support weaker students.