Home >  Blog >  More on the curriculum review

More on the curriculum review

Posted by Garry Collins, AATE President on 23 October 2014

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.

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

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: Curriculum matters

Post comment

Upcoming Events

Atherton SHS Presents

Atherton State High School Presents will be the first activity for the Townsville Branch in 2019. The program is designed to share experiences and practical advice relating to the different contexts of English. Full details are available here. Where: Pimlico SHS When: Saturday 16 February, 2019 Time: AGM - 8:30, first sess...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   8:30 AM
Date:   Saturday 16th February 2019
Venue:   Pimlico High School
Phone Enquiries:   0455 464 000
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