An edited version of the letter below was published in The Australian of Thursday 23 October 2014. The underlined words were deleted and the bracketed ones inserted. The letter was the second of two under the heading "Hardly fascism".
Barry Spurr and the Australian Curriculum
Some people are suggesting (suggest) that Professor Barry Spurr’s input to the review of the English component of the Australian Curriculum should be disregarded because of the racist and sexist language used in a series of emails.
Irrespective of whatever other import they may have, those emails are (That is) not the main issue in relation to the curriculum review. Most of his input should be disregarded because many of his comments go beyond the reach of his expertise. Being a literary scholar with particular knowledge of Donne, Milton and T.S. Eliot doesn't (does not) automatically make him an expert on teaching English in primary and secondary schools. Some of his views on poetry would be relevant for Years 10-12 but beyond that they have no special significance.
Spurr is of course perfectly entitled to his personal views on the school level teaching of English but they should not be elevated by an inappropriate claim of expert status.
Taken as a whole, Spurr’s report seems to be based on the erroneous assumption that the whole purpose of school-level English teaching from Year 1 on is to produce the sort of undergraduates he would like in his university literature classes.
It needs to be asked why Spurr and Dr Fiona Mueller were selected out of the hundreds of similarly and better qualified people to be considered as two “subject specialists” by review panellists Kenneth Wiltshire and Kevin Donnelly.
Perhaps the process was similar to that by which Donnelly was appointed by Education Minister Christopher Pyne.
As far as I can see, Dr Mueller has significantly less relevant experience than I do.
President, Australian Association for the Teaching of English (AATE)
Teacher event - external assessment
Latest news Due to the lockdown in south east Queensland, this event will now be fully online. Links for the sessions will be emailed to all registrants on FRIDAY afternoon; you will be able to access the materials from 9am on Saturday morning. If you registered for in-person attendance, your registration will be automatic...
Darling Downs Branch presents
The Darling Downs Branch will present Everything about the external exam on Wednesday 11 August from 3:30 to 5:30pm.
Join us for an afternoon to reconnect with English colleagues, engage in discussion and explore ideas on how to prepare students for the external exam.
Grammar PD term 3
To assist attendees to develop their understandings of grammar in order to fully comprehend and to effectively teach the Australia Curriculum: English (AC:E), a further session will be held on Saturday 28 August at a venue (to be announced) in the metropolitan area. Download the flyer for further details. If your school is inter...
Student event - external assessment
Flexible modes of delivery will allow you and your students to engage with the materials at a time that suits you. Once again this event will be fully online to cater for all members and their students. This year the materials will come to you live in the afternoon of Wednesday 8 September. The recorded materials will th...
Pre-service teachers present
Townsville branch will present EMBEDDING INDIGENOUS PERSPECTIVES IN AUSTRALIAN SHORT STORY UNIT. by a group of pre-service teachers on Saturday 16 October 2021 from 9 am till 11 am.
See the flyer for more details. Registrations will open on 1st September.
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