Education and Arts
Keynote 1: Bev Derewianka (University of Wollongong)
Making Sense of the Australian Curriculum: English
With the implementation phase of the new national English curriculum, systems and schools are attempting to come to grips with what it might look like in the classroom. The Framing Paper that informed the curriculum envisaged the discipline of English as a cumulative body of knowledge across the years of schooling.
This paper will examine how this developmental sequence is represented in the Language strand of the national curriculum and how it has been recontextualised at the state level into English syllabus documents. It will then report on how a number of schools have gone about the process of developing 'scope and sequence' plans, grappling with such issues as which language features to teach at which level, how they are revisited and built on in subsequent years, what terminology to use and how this might change across the years, and how to integrate a knowledge about language into existing units of work.
Keynote 2: Mary Macken-Horarik (University of New England)
Tools that travel, knowledge that grows: Generating a grammatics 'good enough' for school English
The national curriculum is now being taken up in various ways across Australian schools and teachers are being asked to develop knowledge about language that is portable and cumulative. But what do these twin challenges mean for professional expertise?
This paper considers tools shared with teachers in a project investigating the character of a grammatics for school English and how teachers at different stages of school English (years 4-10) have used these. The paper draws on data from teacher workshops and interviews with teachers as they reflected on student work. The paper finishes with reflections on the implications for tools that travel (across contexts and settings) and for knowledge that grows as students progress through the years of school English.
Keynote 3: John Polias and Brian Dare (Lexis Education)
Doing it in the classroom: knowledge about language in teaching, knowledge about language in learning
Our mentoring work over many years in classrooms in various parts of the world has highlighted again and again for all concerned the significant benefits that a knowledge about language can have. This is not only a knowledge about language for the teacher in terms of designing and enacting successful, explicit pedagogies but also for the student in terms of developing into independent and critical language users. We have been mindful in all our work that a focus on language cannot hope to succeed without a careful consideration of how teaching and learning can best be carried out.
In this regard, we have underpinned our focus on language with a teaching and learning cycle that we have continually sought to improve.We will present several examples of our work with teachers working in local schools in Australia and Hong Kong, and also in international schools. These examples, which clearly reflect the potential benefits of working with an explicit language-based pedagogy, cover primary and secondary school settings. They will illustrate how we use a rich teaching and learning cycle that aims to develop the genre and register capabilities of teachers and students. Within this cycle is not only the ongoing development of a metalanguage but an understanding of the interdependence of language and other semiotic systems.