General Capabilities as a Way in to Planning

By Clarence, Kerrie; Comber, Barbara | Practically Primary, October 2011 | Go to article overview

General Capabilities as a Way in to Planning


Clarence, Kerrie, Comber, Barbara, Practically Primary


Introduction

Following the introduction of national testing of literacy and numeracy (NAPLAN) in 2008 and subsequent establishment of the MySchool website, during 2010 many primary and secondary schools across Australia in all sectors were involved in trialling the draft Australian Curriculum. Trial school consultation processes involved schools engaging with the draft document in one or a combination of activities which included: developing teaching programs; teaching, assessing and collecting work samples from a developed program; or testing the functions of the online curriculum portal (ACARA, 2010a).

As English literacy educators and researchers we are interested in the ways in which these national developments are being taken up and/or contested by systems and practitioners. Our work is informed by Institutional Ethnography, an approach which emphasises that texts, including the draft Australian Curriculum, are read by particular people working in local sites and who interpret and take action as a result of reading in particular ways. As Nichols and Griffith (2009 p. 241) explain, 'Texts, created to govern public school can only do so when they are taken up by people in their everyday work'. Here we explore through interviews with a literacy consultant and a teacher working in the same sector how they are reading the Australian Curriculum and how they are organising their work around it. What are they finding productive? What are the challenges? These questions underpin our research projects.

Systems are trying to ind ways of introducing the Australian Curriculum to school practitioners while at the same time they want practitioners to be able to adapt it to meet local needs, to continue to pursue philosophies which are fundamental to their sectors and to maintain some professional autonomy. One teacher who trialled the draft Curriculum explains:

basically I had to fulfil the requirements of the trial while also fitting in with my own philosophy ... I wanted ACARA to have a sense of our school and my class and me as a teacher and where we're at and what our philosophy is and how we plan to fit the Australian curriculum in with that. (Teacher interview, 2010)

Literacy consultants from all sectors are designing professional development opportunities for teachers to become familiar with the Australian English Curriculum often by focussing on literature, language or literacy. One consultant stressed the potential of using the General Capabilities in the curriculum as a 'way-in' to planning and reinvigorating units of work.

Seeing the big picture of the role of General Capabilities and Cross-Curriculum Priorities and the exciting potential of planning and having them drive a unit of work that can be just in English or go beyond just English in some ways. (Literacy Consultant interview, 2010)

The preceding interview extracts highlight both the potential for pedagogical innovation and possible impediments to creativity associated with the mandating of curriculum reform. Here we draw upon Kerrie Clarence's ongoing research to explore the tensions identiied by one teacher. As an experienced Year 5/6 teacher with responsibility for school-wide curriculum coordination in a school located in Adelaide's northern suburbs, Susan (a pseudonym) shares a commitment to curriculum innovation with the school's leadership team and teachers. The school as a whole was keen to trial all areas of the Australian Curriculum to see how it 'its with what we're doing'. This case makes it obvious that teachers are differently positioned to take up or experiment with new curriculum. The intellectual work of aligning what is proposed with what they already believe and do is complex though as Beavis (2010, pp. 21-22) states, 'the work of English teachers has always been to interpret policy documents and requirements and to remake the curriculum in ways that accord with their own histories, contexts and priorities'. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

General Capabilities as a Way in to Planning
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.