AATE challenges the misleading information provided in the The Australian newspaper's Editorial of 17/09 about the role of professional associations in developing the resources and the nature, purpose and content of the units prepared by AATE and other associations on the E4AC website.
The project undertaken for Educational Services Australia was to develop resources for the Supporting the Australian Curriculum On-line project (SACOL). The focus of content was therefore on digitally accessible resources that are freely available and immediately accessible to all schools across the country, rather than a reliance on traditional texts.
Each state and territory is either using the ACARA document, or has its own syllabus with either prescribed or suggested novels, plays, drama and poetry that English teachers use in their classrooms. The Australian Curriculum however, also demands engagement with a broader range of contemporary texts that come in many forms and media. The 4 units included in this resource focus on this component of the Australian Curriculum.
The editorial fails to address the positive aspects of the units. These are: the flexibility of the resources that enable teachers to select digital material that would appeal to students in remote and rural, as well as in urban settings; the inclusion of teaching ideas around new elements of the Australian Curriculum applicable across all subjects such as sustainability and consumerism, and the cost neutral aspect of being able to download these materials, which means that no student or teacher is disadvantaged by location, or lack of resources.
AATE supports the premise that all students should read and study traditional texts for pleasure, to enrich life, to engage with other cultures in ways that both value our traditional Australian cultural heritage, and bring insights to that culture that only reading widely can bring. However, AATE also believes that English has the responsibility to educate the citizens of tomorrow through the study of digital texts. The E4AC project was an opportunity to do this.
Karen Moni, AATE President
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