Home >  Blog >  Grammar and literature in the national English curriculum

Grammar and literature in the national English curriculum

Posted by Garry Collins, AATE President on 6 June 2014
  • An edited version of the following letter was published in The Australian of Friday 6 June 2014. The underlined words were deleted and the bracketed ones inserted. The paper's heading was "Good on grammar". The IPA is the Institute of Public Affairs. Information about Stephanie Forrest can be found here.

Grammar and literature in the national English curriculum

IPA research scholar Stephanie Forrest writes that the coverage of grammar in the Foundation to Year 10 national English curriculum is “sketchy” (“Who put the Ramayana, not Dickens, in curriculums”, 5/6). I can only conclude that she must have been looking at a different document from the one on the website of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority.

Most people familiar with the curriculum agree that one of its notable features is the degree of detail on grammar to be found in the Language strand. And it is a sensible approach to grammar that focuses on how different choices from the language system produce different kinds of meaning.

Later in the piece, Forrest asks where writers like (such as) Shakespeare, Milton and Dickens are to be found in the curriculum. My observation is that plays like (such as) Romeo and Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream are often taught with (in) junior secondary English classes. Most works by Milton or Dickens would be best left to Years 11 and 12 and even there they need to be carefully chosen. I’m currently participating in a book club reading of Dickens’s novel Dombey and Son but 35 years in high school English classrooms tells me that I could never have successfully sold it to the majority of teenagers.

Perhaps Forrest knows better, but her biographical details on the IPA website indicate that her 2013 BA Honours degree was (is) in classics and history and there is no mention of her ever having been a high school (an) English teacher.

Garry Collins
President, Australian Association for the Teaching of English (AATE)

Garry Collins, AATE PresidentAuthor: 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: Curriculum matters

Post comment

Upcoming Events

Literature Spectacular

Graham Joseph from Ryan Catholic College will present a workshop designed for teachers who are thinking about introducing Literature, delivering Literature for the first time or looking to review their Literature course in the near future. In the first part of the workshop, we will explore a framework for delivering a Literature course that c...

Category:   Workshop
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 13th February 2021
Venue:   ZOOM
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


March Seminar 2021: Challenge and Change: Doing things differently

We are delighted to announce that we will be back with face to face professional learing events in 2021 - usual format but wtih some important changes: the March Seminar will be a full day event; the AATE-ALEA National Conference will be held in Brisbane in July and consequently there will not be a state conference. Other events for the year ...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 13th March 2021
Venue:   Iona College
Venue Address:   85 North Road, LINDUM
Phone Enquiries:   0455 464 000


Grammar at Hervey Bay

A grammar workshop will be held at Hervey Bay State High School to assist attendees to develop their understandings of grammar in order to fully comprehend and to effectively teach the Australia Curriculum: English (AC:E). Also highly relevant to Years 11 & 12. This will be an updated re-run of the activity conducted in both 2018 and ...

Category:   Workshop
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 27th March 2021
Venue:   Hervey Bay State High School
Venue Address:   56 Beach Road, Hervey Bay
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


JCU Spectacular

Join Dr Claire Hansen for a two-hour session on teaching Macbeth. We'll dive into an exploration of the language of Macbeth and teaching strategies to engage students with Shakespeare's Scottish play.  The workshop will also explore learning activities for Macbeth created by the Shakespeare Reloaded project. This session will...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 22nd May 2021
Venue:   ZOOM
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Grammar Day

ETAQ will be conducting another of the very successful grammar days on Saturday 29 May 2021.  If your school would like to host this event, please contact Admin Officer.

Category:   Workshop
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 29th May 2021
Venue:   To be advised


< Previous | 1 | 2 | Next >
View all

Latest News

View all

Blog Feed

Grammar myths

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

Impact on learning

Sep 12 2017
The following letter was submitted to The Au...
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