Home >  Blog >  Agreeing and disagreeing with Kevin Donnelly

Agreeing and disagreeing with Kevin Donnelly

Posted by Garry Collins, AATE President on 25 March 2015

The following letter was submitted to The Australian for possible inclusion in the edition of Monday 23 March 2015 but it was not selected for publication. It was probably a tad too long.

Fads in education

I find I'm able to agree with a fair bit of what Kevin Donnelly has to say in his latest comment ("Tide is turning in education as traditional forms of teaching make a welcome comeback", 21-22/3).

At Gladstone State High School in central Queensland in the late 1970s we received a much needed new classroom block. Either side of a central courtyard it had a large barn-like space consisting of three classroom areas with no dividing walls. The head office people called it a flexible learning space but I can't recall any of the teachers who worked in it finding it flexible at all.

There will probably always be fads. The main one that we are contending with at present is an obsession with standardised testing in the form of NAPLAN.

As to explicit teaching, it is central to the work that I currently do in teacher preparation courses for prospective secondary English teachers at The University of Queensland.

It was strange, however, to see Donnelly attacking some description of a Victorian Education Department program at the end of the article. The language might have been a tad inflated but is Donnelly really opposed to the development of skills that would enable lifelong learning? Effective reading would be a key part of that. He also takes issue with the program seeking to develop "creative, connected and collaborative problem solvers". This sounds to me like the workplace competencies that employers have been exhorting the school system to deliver for at least a quarter of a century.

Garry Collins
President, Australian Association for the Teaching of English

Author: Garry Collins, AATE President
About: Garry Collins is the Immediate Past President of ETAQ and began a 2 year term as AATE President on 1 January 2014. A retired high school English teacher, he now works in the School of Education at the University of Queensland as a sessional tutor in English curriculum courses.
Tags: General news

Post comment

Upcoming Events

Grace Loyden & the new SATE

Grace Loyden will present a session on a aspects of the new SATE at Townsville Grammar School on Saturday 28th July 2018, starting at 9:00 am. Cost is $20 which is to be paid by the website. Download the flyer for all the details. ...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 28th July 2018
Venue:   Townsville Grammar School
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Townsville Breakfast Book Club

Grace Loyden is organising a series of Breakfast Book Clubs starting at 9:00 am on: Sunday 11 February - Burial Rites by Hannah Kent Sunday 21 April - The White Earth by Andrew McGahan Sunday 5 August - Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood Sunday 28 October - We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler ...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Sunday 5th August 2018
  Repeating On specific dates
Venue:   Jam Corner Restaurant


State Conference 2018

State Conference in 2018 will address the theme Vision 2020: Seeing the future of English Teaching. Keynote speakers: Samuel Wagan Watson is an award-winning Indigenous poet and professional raconteur. Born in Brisbane in 1972, he is of Munanjali, Birri Gubba, German and Irish descent. Samuel's first collection of poems won the 19...

Category:   State Conference
Start Time:   8:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 18th August 2018
Venue:   Lourdes Hill School
Phone Enquiries:   0455 464 000
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Masterclass - Unit 4

This event will provide participants with the opportunity to explore the syllabus for semester 4 in detail. English and Literature will be offered on Day One; English will be repeated on DayTwo together with EALD and Essential English. Participants may register for one day or both. Program will be available on Thursday 13 September. R...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 20th October 2018
Venue:   QUT, Kelvin Grove
Phone Enquiries:   0455 464 000
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Beginning Teachers Day

The Beginning Teachers Day this year will be held on Saturday 27 October at University of South Queensland (USQ) Springfield campus. This day is designed to meet the needs of pre-service teachers, those in their first five years of teaching and more experienced teachers who are new to teaching English. The program will be available on...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 27th October 2018
Venue:   Springfield Campus of USQ
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


View all

English Educator of the week

Rachael Christopherson
Brisbane Girls Grammar School

Number of years teaching:
25.  12 years at BGGS

Where else have you taught?
St Edmund's College, Ipswich (all boys)
Mt Alvernia College, Kedron (all girls)
Downlands College, Toowoomba (co-ed boarding with Ag Studies programme)

 

Read more

View all

Blog Feed

Editor of Words'Worth - Expression of interest

Oct 04 2017
Words'Worth is the journal of The Englis...

Grammar myths

Sep 12 2017
An edited version of the letter below was pu...
Read all

Testimonials

Read All

This is the first time I have been to an ETAQ conference and it was really sensational to get so much at all of the sessions.

ETAQ conferences always have sessions that make me excited to be a teacher.

I know that ETAQ conferences in the past have never disappointed - valuable, relevant, practical, inspiring so I came again.

Read All

Newsletter

Receive updates
from ETAQ

PO Box 3375, STAFFORD,
Queensland, Australia, 4053
(07) 3284 3718
ABN: 17 689 278 512

Connect to a great range of people who are passionate about English and have their finger on the pulse.

Be Connected