Teaching Fat Books Again - Association of Independent Schools of

Report
The retreat from critical literacy in
the Australian Curriculum
Association Independent Schools Annual English
Conference
Sydney, September 2011
David Hastie, St Paul’s Grammar School
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From the Board of Studies English K-10
Syllabus Draft, 1 August, 2011 (stage 4)
4.22 spelling – understand how to use
knowledge of the spelling system to spell
unusual and technical words accurately, for
example those based on uncommon Greek
and Latin roots
4.19 nominalisation – understand the effect
of nominalisation in the writing of informative
and persuasive texts
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Anachronistic
A term of
symbolic violence
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But familiar
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A test case
http://horrortree.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/attack-of-the-50-ft-book.jpg
http://scoop.diamondgalleries.com/public/imagebrowser.asp?ai=106706&whichpage=2&whichimage=329578
CURRENT
NSW
NEW AUS.
CURRICULUM
Critical
Literacy/
emancipatory
soft canonical
Sceptical/ deauthorizing
knowledge
Transcendent/
hierarchical
knowledge
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1911-1971: Skills/ Cultural Heritage
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1971- 1999: Skills/ Cultural Heritage/
Personal Growth
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1999- 2011: Vocationalism/ Cultural
Heritage/ Aesthetics/
Emancipation
◦ Foursquare ‘hybrid’ curricula
 ‘Emancipatory’
 Cultural heritage
 Aesthetics
 Vocationalism
http://www.rat-race-escapeartists.com/images/education_cart
oon.jpg
•
Arnold: ‘the best said
and done’
Aesthetics
• Leavis: the text as
authority
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/booksblog/2011/feb/17/reading-overrated-rickgekoski
http://www.selfhelptipsblog.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/personal-growth-books.jpg
• Reader-response
theory
• 1967 Dartmoor
Anglo- American
conference of
English
• the ‘New English’
• neo-marxisms, feminist, queer,
postcolonial, discourse, New
Historicist, psychoanalytical theories
• radically democratic/ libertarian
http://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/us/emancipation-day
• Human Capital
Theory
• Karmel, 1962
Buntine Oration
• Regan/ Thatcher
• Metherill/
Dawkins
• Naplan/
MySchool
Cultural
heritage
Aesthetics
Personal Growth
‘Language
Skills’
‘Canonical’
Emancipatory/
Critical
Literacy
Vocationalism
 Literature strand
 The store-house of ‘correct’
language in the language
strand
 The retreat from Critical
literacy
“Literature is... valued for their
form and style and are recognised
as having enduring or artistic
value.” (AEC 2010)
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/
4/48/ShakespeareQuestion.jpg
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BOS stages 1-3
“The syllabus emphasises the development of Critical
Literacy. This involves students in questioning, challenging
and evaluating the texts that they listen to, read and view.
Critical Literacy enables students to perceive how texts
position readers to take a particular view of people and
events.”
BOS stages 4-5
“identify bias and attitudes such as sexism and racism in
texts...identify cultural assumptions in texts including
those about gender, ethnicity, religion, youth, age,
sexuality, disability, cultural diversity, social class and
work.”
And much more......
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Every year, k-10 students must experience
◦ “texts which are widely regarded as quality literature”
◦ Retaining mandatory Shakespearean text in stage 5.
◦ “a widely defined Australian literature, including texts
written from the perspective of and about Aboriginal[s]
◦ “a wide range of literary texts from other countries and
times”
◦ students to explore and appreciate the rich tradition of
texts from and about the people and countries of Asia
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In stages 4-5, (although not stages 1-3)
students must experience:
“a wide range of cultural, social and gender
perspectives, popular and youth cultures”
outcome 6.4-6.5 in stage 4-5; 7.6, 7.7,
7.8, 7.11 and 7.15 (some of the wording
from the existing BOS documents is used).
Also stage 5, 1.12 and 7.4-7.13: notions of
‘positioning’ retained.
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Federal AEC K-10
◦ “standard grammatical terminology within a contextual
framework” and “structure (syntax) and meaning
(semantics) at the level of the word, the sentence and
the text.” (AEC K-10)
◦ Reversion to pre-structuralism (hence pre-functional,
pre-deconstructionist, pre-critical linguistics etc)
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The BOS draft has done away with such silly
meta- grammatical terms
But a massive ‘technical’ shift dominates the
content of the (168 page) draft = ‘authoritative’
rather than ‘critical’ language approaches
http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_eIARuH0x4Y/SxgWLeC_dmI/AAAAAAAABEI/5geXlE7e15g/s1600h/Grammar+Rock.gif
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Bloom ‘the hermeneutic of complaint’(1991): “This
intolerance, the self-congratulation, smugness,
sanctimoniousness, the retreat from imaginative
values, the flight from the aesthetic. It's not worth
being truly outraged about. Eventually these people
will provide their own antidote, because they will
perish of boredom.”
http://www.thenewdorkreviewofbooks.com/2011_05_01_archive.html
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Ranters: left wing (Turner 2008; Slattery
2008a, 2008b); right wing (Donnelly 2006,
2008; Divine) et al.
Famous recanters: Eagleton (2008); Said
(1991); Derrida:
“[deconstruction doesn’t mean simply
destroying the norms or pushing
these norms to utter chaos...[if
deconstruction causes] neglect of
the classical authors, the canonical
texts, and so on, we should fight it.”
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‘dumbing down’ of English?
Adele Horin and the preprepared exam paper
controversy
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Sarah Golsby-Smith (2007):
◦ “the practical implications of the literary
theories [of] Stage 6 2000 Syllabus are,
ironically, the reverse of what the theories
intend. They intend to open up a space for
the ‘other’, but in doing so set the theory
up as an untouchable ontology, and thus
shut out questions and conversations that
might threaten the sovereignty of that
central ontology. The ‘other’ becomes
almost inaccessible’.
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The ubiquity of canonicity: Epic of Gilgamesh;
the Wizard of Oz; the Bible; Shakespeare;
dreaming stories of West Arnhem Land; Cloud
Street, etc.
Global habits of reading
Film going
Literary awards ceremonies
Film awards ceremonies
◦ Draft ‘Essentials English’: social class reproduction?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/musicblog/2009/mar/19/readers-recommend-television-socialclass-songs
http://www.createavoice.org/2011_06_01_archive.html
• ‘Grammar’ as a form of social control: Bordieu:
 “linguistic ‘sense of place’ governs the degree
of constraint which a given field will bring to
bear on the production of discourse, imposing
silence or a hyper-controlled language on
some people, while
allowing others the
liberty of a
language that is
securely established.”
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The AEC, in ‘textual requirements’:
◦ “each text will be ‘worthy of close study’; and
‘reflect community standards and expectations’
◦ Teachers as agents of social dissent?
http://wtpotus.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/wisconsinteachers-protest-sign.jpg
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Change in Zeitgiest
Ambiguity fatigue
http://www.google.com.au/imgres?imgurl=http://hollyarmishaw.com/Silencieux/sli
des/16_DepressionDespair.jpg&imgrefurl=http://hollyarmishaw.com/Silencieux/slides/16_Depression
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The familiar/ The unfamiliar
Grammar
David Mitchell rants about bad spelling
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kge9ZzjsfW8
Grammar Ninja
http://www.kwarp.com/portfolio/grammarninja.html
Historical approaches to language
Generic resources: can be used years 6-12, in bite size pieces,
and built into all many of programmes
 McCrum, R. (1984). The story of English. BBC
 McCrum, R. (2010). Globish: How English became the world's
language. London.
 Bragg, M. (2003). The adventure of English: The biography of a
language. London.
The Australian English Curriculum
David Hastie TTA 2011
Historical approaches to language
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Some Specific resources
Bill Bailey on Chaucer:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNEWatD0viw&feature=related lots
of fun
Chaucer prologue in Middle English:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QE0MtENfOMU&feature=related
Chaucer prologue rap
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fc8XPv_qstA&feature=related
Beowulf in old English
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4L7VTH8ii_8&feature=related;
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y13cES7MMd8&feature=related
The Australian English Curriculum
David Hastie TTA 2011
Idiom and specialization
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Teen culture idioms: Skating: Screenplay Inc. (2001). Dogtown
and Z boys:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPpUKen7Cwg&feature=relat
ed
http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi866255129/ (this is V
cool)
Australian idiom: Carey, P. (2000). True history of the Kelly Gang.
Brisbane. University of Queensland Press. This is a must-It
Original Jerilderie letter online at http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/ourcollections/treasures-curios/jerilderie-letter
The Australian English Curriculum
David Hastie TTA 2011
The Australian English Curriculum
David Hastie TTA 2011
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Parker, M & Morrison, F. (2006). Masters in Pieces. Sydney. Cambridge
http://www.cambridge.edu.au/go/resource/?pid=1053
Harold Bloom's impressive lists of great books from (1994). The
Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages.
http://www.interleaves.org/~rteeter/grtbloom.html.
Edward Said, E. (2000). Identity, authority, and freedom: The potentate
and the traveller. Transition. No. 54 (1991), pp. 4-18.
http://www.jstor.org/stable/2934899; (2004). Humanism and
Democratic Criticism. Columbia University Press.
Dr Seuss V Shakespeare Epic Rap Battles of History
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3w2MTXBebg
The Australian English Curriculum
David Hastie TTA 2011
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T.S. Eliot http://www.bartleby.com/200/
George Orwell on language
http://www.georgeorwell.org/Politics_and_the_English_Language
/0.html
Seamus Heaney on Eliot
(http://www.bostonreview.net/BR14.5/heane
y.html) and Hopkins
(http://lisa.revues.org/89).
The Australian English Curriculum
David Hastie TTA 2011

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