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Article
Publication date: 5 June 2017

Jacqueline Manuel and Don Carter

This paper provides a critical interpretative analysis of the first secondary English syllabus for schools in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, contained within the…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper provides a critical interpretative analysis of the first secondary English syllabus for schools in New South Wales (NSW), Australia, contained within the Courses for Study for High Schools (New South Wales Department of Public Instruction, 1911). The purpose of the paper is to examine the “continuities that link English curriculum discourses and practices with previous discourses and practices” in the rhetorical curriculum. The analysis identifies those aspects of the 1911 English syllabus that have since become normative and challenges the appropriateness of certain enduring orthodoxies in a twenty-first century context.

Design/methodology/approach

Focussing on a landmark historical curriculum document from 1911, this paper draws on methods of historical comparative and documentary analysis. It sits within the tradition of historical curriculum research that critiques curriculum documents as a primary source for understanding continuities of discourses and practices. A social constructionist approach informs the analysis.

Findings

The conceptualisation of subject English evident in the structure, content and emphases of the 1911 English syllabus encodes a range of “discourses and practices” that have in some form endured or been “reconstituted and remade” (Cormack, 2008, p. 275) over the course of a century. The analysis draws attention to those aspects of the subject that have remained unproblematised and taken-for-granted, and the implications of this for universal student participation and attainment.

Originality/value

This paper reorients critical attention to a significant historical curriculum document that has not, to date, been explored against the backdrop twenty-first century senior secondary English curriculum. In doing so, it presents extended insights into a range of now normative structures, beliefs, ideas, assumptions and practices and questions the potential impact of these on student learning, access and achievement in senior secondary English in NSW in the twenty-first century.

Details

History of Education Review, vol. 46 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0819-8691

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 May 2016

Wei Liu

This paper aims to explore the changing pedagogic discourses in China today, using the current wave of English curriculum innovation as a focused case. Given the…

1107

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to explore the changing pedagogic discourses in China today, using the current wave of English curriculum innovation as a focused case. Given the cross-cultural nature of foreign language education, the change in the English as a foreign language curriculum in China has served as a fertile ground for different pedagogical ideas to emerge and to cross. The new English curriculum in China has endorsed a more communicative and humanistic view of language teaching, encouraging teachers to adopt a task-based approach to organize their classroom teaching. The new English curriculum has aroused a heated debate among Chinese scholars on the suitability of such a Western curriculum idea in the Chinese educational context on the basis of its relation to the Confucian tradition of education, the English as a Foreign Language (EFL) context of China and the danger of post-colonialist imposition.

Design/methodology/approach

A critique is conducted on the three areas of controversies by situating the debate in the larger context of the cross-cultural understanding of the Chinese pedagogic discourse in the process of globalization and internationalization.

Findings

It is important for China to resist the homogenizing effect of globalization and internationalization in the area of curriculum development; however, being defensive and protective of one’s own and dismissive of others has not been and should not be the attitude of Chinese curriculum reform. The evolution of Chinese pedagogy is not only a result of Western influence but also a result of social change in the process of industrialization (Cheng, 2011). Global trends and national traditions should not be taken as extremes in an incompatible and irreconcilable dichotomy.

Originality/value

The three areas of debates on the new English curriculum can serve as a good lens into the evolving curriculum discourses in China. They reflect the cultural–historical, contextual and critical considerations among Chinese educational scholars in the national curriculum innovation efforts.

Details

English Teaching: Practice & Critique, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1175-8708

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 3 July 2018

Tariq Elyas and Abdullah Ahmed Al-Ghamdi

This chapter briefly explores selected English and general education policy documents, curricula, and textbooks within the context of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) from a…

Abstract

This chapter briefly explores selected English and general education policy documents, curricula, and textbooks within the context of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) from a Critical Discourse Analysis perspective and examines how they have changed pre- and post-21st century. First, a policy document related to education in KSA in general (pre-21st century) is analyzed along with an English language teaching (ELT) policy document of the same period. Next, two general policy documents post-21st century are explored, followed by one related to ELT policy. Finally, one post-21st century document related to higher education is discussed. The “network of practices” within which these documents are situated are first detailed, as well as the structural order of the discourse, and some linguistic analysis of the choice of vocabulary and grammatical structures (Meyer, 2001). Issues which might be problematic to the learning and teaching identities of the students and teachers interpreting these documents are also highlighted. Finally, we consider whether the network of practices at this institution and KSA in general “needs” the problems identified in the analysis and critically reflect on the analysis.

Details

Cross-nationally Comparative, Evidence-based Educational Policymaking and Reform
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78743-767-8

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 December 2015

Terry Locke

– The purpose of this paper is to combine conceptual and documentary research.

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to combine conceptual and documentary research.

Design/methodology/approach

Drawing on a range of New Zealand curriculum documents and on the history of English subject in the New Zealand context, it maps aspects of the contestation that has accompanied the development of various versions of the subject over time. It also explores ways in which the subject has always drawn on a range of primary disciplinary discourses through a process of recontextualization (Bernstein, 2000).

Findings

Based on this analysis, it problematizes the conventional location of literary study within the English curriculum, arguing that this arrangement disadvantages English as an additional language (EAL) students with an interest in literature. As another plank in the argument, it argues that literary study is itself currently disadvantaged by being linked to narrowly conceived notions of textual practice and the pervasive power of high-stake assessment technologies in constructing content and pedagogy.

Originality/value

A solution to both problems is offered, arguing a case for relocating literary study in an expanded Arts curriculum. The paper then goes on to draw on the concept of disciplinary literacy, to argue a case for the “reinvention” of the English teacher as a cross-disciplinary resource teaching a re-framed subject renamed “Disciplinary Rhetorics”. It concludes by discussing the implications of these two re-envisionments for English teacher identities and the construction of their professional content and pedagogical knowledge.

Article
Publication date: 3 May 2016

Wayne Sawyer

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the important work of Peter Medway in seeking to define English as a school subject in the period from the 1980s to the early years…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to discuss the important work of Peter Medway in seeking to define English as a school subject in the period from the 1980s to the early years of this century.

Design/methodology/approach

The author reviews the work of Peter Medway.

Findings

The paper addresses the issue of how his work reflected – or not – the curriculum thinking of his time and the complexity of ideas he brought to this endeavour.

Originality/value

This paper is an original look at the work of Peter Medway in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

Details

English Teaching: Practice & Critique, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1175-8708

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 May 2016

Don Carter

The purpose of this paper is to examine the strong influence of Herbartian ideas on the first secondary school-based English course (1911) in New South Wales (NSW)…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the strong influence of Herbartian ideas on the first secondary school-based English course (1911) in New South Wales (NSW), Australia. Whilst previous research has established the influence of the “New Education” on the (NSW Director of Education, Peter Board, the architect of the) 1911 courses, no specific analysis of Johann Friedrich Herbart’s educational ideas has been undertaken in relation to this seminal secondary English course.

Design/methodology/approach

Through using three of Herbart’s key educational ideas as an interpretive framework to analyse the 1911 NSW Courses of Study for High Schools English course, the paper demonstrates the influence of those ideas on this inaugural secondary English course.

Findings

The analysis reveals that the NSW 1911 secondary English course was influenced by Herbartian educational ideas underpinning the course.

Research limitations/implications

This paper focuses on the “pre-active”1911 rhetorical English curriculum in NSW, rather than the “enacted” implemented curriculum.

Practical implications

The paper identifies Herbartian influences on the 1911 NSW English syllabus, revealing important philosophical ideas.

Social implications

Future English curriculum design will benefit from the identification of the philosophical ideas embedded in the NSW 1911 English curriculum.

Originality/value

This analysis provides insights into the Herbartian influences on the first secondary English course in NSW.

Details

English Teaching: Practice & Critique, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1175-8708

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 September 2015

Jackie Manuel and Don Carter

This paper aims to provide a critical interpretative analysis of an innovative model of assessment in subject English in New South Wales, Australia. The purpose of this…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to provide a critical interpretative analysis of an innovative model of assessment in subject English in New South Wales, Australia. The purpose of this paper is to explore the theoretical and practical dimensions of assessment in the English Extension 2 course. This course forms part of suite of senior secondary English courses within the Higher School Certificate program that includes high-stakes external examination.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws on methods of documentary analysis. It sits within the tradition of curriculum research that critiques pre-active curriculum documents as a primary source for interpreting the theoretical and pedagogical principles and assumptions encoded in such documents. A social constructionist approach informs the analysis.

Findings

The model of assessment in the New South Wales (NSW) English Extension 2 course provides students with the opportunity to engage in sustained research and the production of a major piece of work. In its emphasis on student creativity, reflective practice, metacognition and independent research, the course exemplifies the ways in which the principle of assessing both process and product as organic is achievable in a context of high-stakes external examinations.

Originality/value

In an era of high-stakes, external and standardised testing regimes, this paper challenges the normative definitions of assessment prevalent in secondary schools, particularly at the senior secondary level. The assessment model underpinning the NSW English Extension 2 course offers a robust alternative to the increasingly prescriptive models evident in current education policy and practice. The paper calls for renewed attention to the potential for such a model of authentic assessment to be considered in the assessment programs of other subjects constituting the curriculum.

Details

English Teaching: Practice & Critique, vol. 14 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1175-8708

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 7 July 2022

Fei Victor Lim, Alexius Chia and Thi Thu Ha Nguyen

The purpose of this study is to examine five Secondary English Language teachers’ perceptions and practices of multiliteracies teaching in the context of a decade after…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to examine five Secondary English Language teachers’ perceptions and practices of multiliteracies teaching in the context of a decade after multiliteracies was introduced into the English Language syllabus in Singapore.

Design/methodology/approach

Adopting a case study approach, the authors observed 12 multiliteracies lessons taught by the five teacher participants across three secondary schools. The classroom data included field notes and video-recordings of the lessons. The authors also conducted pre-lesson and post-lesson interviews with the teachers to understand their beliefs and the rationale behind their classroom practices. The video-recordings of the lessons and audio-recordings of the interviews were transcribed verbatim and analysed using thematic coding.

Findings

The authors identify an essentialising of multiliteracies to the skills of viewing and representing with multimodal texts, as well as a sense of uncertainty amongst the teachers towards the teaching of multiliteracies. In terms of practices, the authors observed an attempt to connect with the students’ life-worlds through the use of authentic materials, but often only in service of language learning. The authors also highlight the constraining influence of assessment on shaping multiliteracies learning. The findings of this study resonate with the conclusions that some of the earlier studies reported on teachers’ perceptions and practices of multiliteracies teaching. This resonation suggests perennial issues and challenges which remain unresolved.

Research limitations/implications

This study is limited by the number of participants as well as the selected lessons the authors observed. The schools, while selected because they were considered as mid-range public schools in Singapore, were also not representative of all Singapore schools. As such, the authors acknowledge that the generalisability of the findings from this study is limited.

Practical implications

The issues raised in this study resonate with the findings from previous studies both from Singapore and around the world. The persistence of these concerns over time and space that remain unresolved demands attention and concerted action from policymakers, curriculum developers and education researchers, to address the challenges in multiliteracies teaching and learning.

Originality/value

This study was conducted a decade after the launch of the English Language Syllabus 2010, which first incorporated multiliteracies into the curriculum. This study examines the teachers’ perceptions and practices in relation to the policy intent. The implications from this study are relevant to educators interested in integrating multiliteracies in the literacy curriculum internationally.

Details

English Teaching: Practice & Critique, vol. 21 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1175-8708

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 3 May 2016

Kerry-Ann O’Sullivan

Increasing government regulation of educational practice with public accountability through a national curriculum and external testing, the establishment of professional…

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Abstract

Purpose

Increasing government regulation of educational practice with public accountability through a national curriculum and external testing, the establishment of professional teaching standards and associated teacher accreditation requirements are strong forces in contemporary Australian education. This paper aims to identify and examine some of the current governmental policies and the associated institutionalised requirements for initial teacher education within this particular context.

Design/methodology/approach

It focuses particularly on preservice English teachers, and in addressing these issues, there is an exploration of the contested territory of the subject English, the key factors affecting initial teacher education students and the effects of professional standards on educators.

Findings

It is argued that there is a need for a much broader vision of educational purpose, a richer construction of subject English than is defined by the testing of traditional literacy skills and productivity outcomes, with a greater empowerment of teachers whose achievements are increasingly limited by narrow accountability measures.

Originality/value

Formal accreditation demands appear to constrain the various multimodal practices and creative, collaborative pedagogies that enhance educational experiences in the twenty-first century. The challenge ahead for educators is to find a balance between the contemporary pressures of a global society, external expectations, professional aspirations and personal values.

Details

English Teaching: Practice & Critique, vol. 15 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1175-8708

Keywords

Book part
Publication date: 23 August 2022

Carol Abiri and Katina Zammit

The teaching of reading in English is fraught with challenges that influence teachers' practices in Papua New Guinea (PNG). There are a plethora of linguistic issues…

Abstract

The teaching of reading in English is fraught with challenges that influence teachers' practices in Papua New Guinea (PNG). There are a plethora of linguistic issues regarding teaching in both the vernacular languages and English. Postcolonial education in PNG has continued to promote English as the medium of instruction while also promoting the use of vernacular and mother tongue. The outcomes-based education reform in the Language and Literacy Policy (1993–2014) supported the use of vernacular languages in the elementary years with the gradual bridging to English in Grade 3. In 2015, the Language and Literacy policy changed to standards-based education. One major shift was from the use of vernacular languages to English as a medium of instruction at all levels of formal education.

In this chapter, we use Tierney's concept of decolonizing spaces to investigate teachers' perspectives on implementing the English standards-based curriculum and the role the vernacular, mother tongue, and translanguaging plays in the classroom as Year 4 teachers grapple with the teaching of reading. It will problematize the colonization of English, the place of translanguaging, and the benefits and challenges for teachers when the classroom teacher most likely is not a native speaker of the children's dialect or English.

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