Knowledge about Language in the Australian Curriculum: English

By Derewianka, Beverly | Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, June 2012 | Go to article overview

Knowledge about Language in the Australian Curriculum: English


Derewianka, Beverly, Australian Journal of Language and Literacy


The Shape Paper (ACARA, 2009), that guided the development of The Australian Curriculum: English (ACARA, 2012), characterises English as a coherent body of disciplinary knowledge that students are to develop over the years from foundation through to senior secondary. Three key, interrelated elements are identified: an explicit knowledge about language, an informed appreciation of literature, and expanding repertoires of language use. Of these three, it is the Language Strand--and in particular the approach to grammar--that is arguably least understood. The aim of this paper is to clarify how a 'knowledge about language' is conceived in the English Curriculum and to discuss some of the issues raised by the introduction of the Language Strand in the national Curriculum. This paper also serves as an introduction to the Special Focus Issue in that it provides an overview of the functional approach to language taken up in the subsequent papers. In the absence of a background document from ACARA (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority), it is intended that this paper should provide a succinct, accessible account for teachers of the model underpinning the Curriculum.

In the 2009 Shape Paper (ACARA, 2009) the Language Strand was described as a coherent, dynamic, and evolving body of knowledge about the English language and how it works (p. 6). By specifying knowledge about language, the Curriculum is giving language itself a visibility that has often been lacking. Language is thus recognised as an integral part of our lives that is worthy of study in its own right. It is through language that we shape our thinking, create our identities, engage with others, experience the pleasure of good literature, analyse, critique and reason about the world.

The more elaborated Framing Paper (ACARA, 2008) that preceded the Shape Paper stressed the important role that language plays in learners' lives:

All students need to develop their understandings of how language functions to achieve a range of purposes that are critical to success in school. This includes reading, understanding, and writing texts that describe, narrate, analyse, explain, recount, argue, review, and so on. Such an approach aims to:

* extend students' language resources in ways that support increasingly complex learning throughout the school years;

* help students deal with the language demands of the various curriculum areas;

* enable students to move from the interactive spontaneity of oral language towards the denser, more crafted language of the written mode;

* help students, in their speaking and writing, to move to and fro between the general and the specific, the abstract and the concrete, and the argument and the evidence;

* raise students' awareness generally of interpersonal issues such as how to take and support a stand in an argument, how to express considered opinions, how to strengthen or soften statements, how to interact with a variety of audiences, and so on. (p. 10)

To capture the critical role of language envisaged in the Curriculum requires a rich, robust model of language that is powerful enough to deal with all the demands made upon it. These include:

* supporting students' learning from the early years through to late adolescence;

* strengthening language and literacy development across the curriculum;

* encompassing the basic skills as well as a focus on meaning;

* operating at the levels of word, sentence and text and being able to explain how these are interrelated;

* providing a basis for teaching and assessing oral interaction, reading, viewing and composing;

* providing explicit assistance for students with specific language needs (e.g. EAL, Indigenous);

* heightening the appreciation of literary texts;

* contributing to a critical analysis of discourse; and

* fostering in students a curiosity about how language works. …

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

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.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

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

Knowledge about Language in the Australian Curriculum: English
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?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access 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

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.