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Should English be compulsory in Years 11 & 12?

Posted by Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President on 2 May 2016

An edited version of the letter below was published in The Courier-Mail of Friday 29 April 2016. Underlined words were deleted and the bracketed ones inserted. The paper's heading was "Enforced English Unwise". In the version I submitted I identified myself as Past President of ETAQ but the paper did not print that detail. My original paragraphing was also adjusted.

English compulsory in Years 11 and 12?

The Premier's reported (Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk's) intention that English should be a compulsory subject in Years 11 and 12 by state edict is well-intentioned but misguided ("New chapter in learning", April 27).

Arrangements at school level already make a form of English a compulsory senior subject for most students, apparently 98% (of students).

Anyone who thinks that compelling (it will be productive to compel) the remaining 2% to also take the subject will be productive understands little about schools or teenagers.

The old saying that one volunteer is worth ten pressed men is relevant here.

What the Premier and Education Minister (Kate Jones) should be more concerned about is the form of subject English (subject) that students study.

Because of pressure on schools for published OP results to look good, too many students are currently counselled into (taking) the less challenging English Communication, the non-OP eligible form of the subject.

Garry Collins

Immediate Past President, English Teachers Association of Queensland (ETAQ) 

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.
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