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Blowing and blundering in space : English in the Australian curriculum

By Brenton Doecke, Larissa McLean Davies and Wayne (R8537) Sawyer


The Australian Curriculum might be read as an antipodean response to Michael Young's call to 'bring knowledge back in' (Young, 2008; cf. Doecke, 2017). In a series of influential publications, Young has advocated the need to restore disciplinary knowledge as the foundation of the school curriculum. Indeed, he redefines the purpose of schooling as being primarily about the provision to students of 'powerful knowledge' that will take them beyond the limitations of their experiences of their local communities, inducting them into modes of inquiry that are 'specialised' and 'systematic' and 'differentiated from experience', reflecting 'the specialisation of knowledge' evident in university disciplines (see Young et al., 2014, pp. 10, 28, 80). Yet those familiar with the history and practice of subject English will know that 'the knowledge question' (as Bill Green has put it recently: Green, 2016, p. 29) is neither new nor straightforward. The Bullock Report, A language for life, went so far as to maintain that English 'does not hold together as a body of knowledge which can be identified, quantified, then transmitted' (DES, 1975, p. 5). The difficulty of 'fitting' English neatly within a particular epistemological framework means that it has often been constructed as a problem, as ‘the deviant case', in comparison with other school subjects (Medway, 1990, p. 1)

Topics: 130204 - English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. LOTE, ESL and TESOL), 930302 - Syllabus and Curriculum Development, English language, study and teaching, curriculum evaluation, Australia
Publisher: Deakin West, A.C.T., Australian Curriculum Studies Association
Year: 2018
OAI identifier: oai:nuws:uws_46390
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