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Writing and the review of the Australian Curriculum

Posted by Garry Collins, AATE President on 2 December 2014

The letter below was prompted by a front page story (continued on Page 8) in The Australian for Saturday 29 November 2014. It might have appeared in the paper on Monday 1 December but, alas, it was not selected for publication.

Teaching writing is important

Education consultant Dr Peter Knapp sensibly suggests that a systematic and explicit approach to teaching writing should start from the early years of primary school (“Writing’s on the wall: kids failing basic literacy”, 29-30/11).

This contrasts with one of the recommendations of literary studies academic Professor Barry Spurr who was commissioned as one of two “subject specialists” to contribute to the evaluation of the English component of the Australian Curriculum as part of the review conducted by Professor Kenneth Wiltshire and Dr Kevin Donnelly.

Spurr argued that primary school students should spend less time on producing writing of their own in favour of a greater focus on the analysis and appreciation of pieces of classic literature.

I wonder whether Dr Knapp was considered for appointment as one of the “subject specialists” for English.

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

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