English in Australia

English in Australia V. 45 no. 1

July 2010

Editorial / Karen Moni - 2

Obituary - Leslie Stratta - 3

Around the States - 4

Talking About the Way the World Wags / Peter O'Connor - 7

Learning through a Winter's Tale / Kristie Vidotto - 15

The Status of Literature in a National Curriculum:
a Case Study of England
/ Andrew Goodwyn - 18
Abstract: This article explores a number of dimensions about the role of literature in schooling and analyses the views of both practising and student teachers who responded to two national surveys about the teaching of literature. These surveys suggest that literature occupies a good deal of curriculum space but without producing a satisfying experience for teachers or their students. As well as analysing the problematic nature of current practice and especially assessment, the article speculates on the potential of reconfiguring literature teaching grounded in the phenomenon of literary reading. The article is, therefore, very much focused on the concerns of present and future English teachers. The article concludes with some reflections on the proposed Australian national curriculum for English, and on what may befall literature teaching in the coming years.

Just a Poem / Laura Washington - 28

'We talked to them about literacy ... they talked to us about their lives' / Annmarie Reid and Lyn Wilkinson - 31
Abstract: This article argues that when secondary school teachers are able to listen to the stories young people tell about themselves and their lives there is potential to improve their literacy outcomes. As a way of illustrating how and what can be achieved, this article tells the stories of two young men who scored below benchmark on the Year 9 LaN tests. They are representative of a larger group of students involved in a literacy project across 11 secondary schools. Their stories show what can be achieved when interventions are targeted at their passions and include literacy tasks that engage and motivate them because they are interwoven with their lives.

A Holistic View of English Education through the Lens of Sustainability / Mary F. Wright and Brenda Wright - 39
Abstract: There is a growing movement in education to address concepts of sustainability across the curriculum. The English Language Arts curriculum is about reading the word and the world (Freire, 1993) and therefore is a natural place to begin reading, writing and discussing issues of global importance. A holistic view of English education through the lens of sustainability re-affirms curriculum design as living, organic, and in tune with our changing world. According to our university’s Institute for Sustainability (http://www.uwrf.edu/sustain/overview.html), the core concept of sustainability moves from one that is solely environmental, to one ‘Based on the collective data and trend analysis
across ecologic, social, and economic contexts, it is now consciously more of an ‘attempt to avoid unsustainability.’ The interdisciplinary nature of this definition, makes it easier for educators to address this concept in curriculum. This year-long action research study traces the journey of two teacher educators working with both primary and secondary pre-service teachers to redesign curriculum with a focus on English education through the lens of sustainability. Findings suggest that integrating sustainability issues into the English curriculum empowers pre-service teachers with confidence and knowledge of best practices supporting an ethical stance emphasising the socially humane objective of teaching children.

The Machine Scoring of Writing / Doug McCurry - 47
Abstract: This article provides an introduction to the kind of computer software that is used to score student writing in some high stakes testing programs, and that is being promoted as a teaching and learning tool to schools. It sketches the state of play with machines for the scoring of writing, and describes how these machines work and what they do. Some of the strengths of the machine scoring of writing and the opportunities it offers are presented. Limitations and potential implications for assessing and teaching writing are also discussed.

Market Research in the English Classroom? / Grace Loyden and Teagan Kumsing - 53

Reviews - 55

Reading and Viewing / Deb McPherson - 59

About the Authors - 64