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Deconstructing literary texts

Posted by Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President on 23 February 2017

The following letter was submitted in response to an editorial in The Australian for possible publication on Thursday 23 February 2017 but it failed to make it into print. The editorial had been prompted by changes to Years 11 and 12 syllabuses in NSW.

Deconstructing literary texts

Your editorial urged that, in senior secondary English classes, students should be taught to enjoy, appreciate and study literary texts (or pieces of literature if the word "texts" is upsetting) rather than to deconstruct them ("Tackling school reform from first principles", Feb 22).

It is certainly to be hoped that enjoyment and appreciation are routine aspects of the process in English classrooms. However, if "deconstruct" is a synonym for "analyse", it is difficult to see how novels, plays and poems can be properly studied, or indeed fully appreciated, without an element of deconstruction being involved.

Apart from that, the paper is to be commended for not lazily resorting to the tired cliché of "back to basics" in this leader.

Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past PresidentAuthor: Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President
About: Garry Collins was ETAQ President from mid July 2005 to 15 March 2014. He taught English in state high schools for around 35 years and now tutors in English curriculum courses in the School of Education at the University of Queensland.
Tags: Curriculum matters

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