Monday, October 17, 2005

Generation Lite or generation hype?

Here is Baden Eunson's opinion of the proposed draft VCE English Study Design. Depressing stuff. This is not a vision of English teaching that I would necessarily share.

Of English curriculum in the past (specificially the 1960s) Eunson says,
While the quality was not always high, the quantity was, and the system produced generations of people who could spell, had a wide vocabulary and could construct and punctuate grammatical sentences.

Is this what English teaching is designed to do? What other functions might VCE English serve? Can we imagine a VCE English course that is not exclusively designed as 'Pre-tertiary English'?

I must say that I also believe it is important to be able to do the things that Eunson identifies. But I don't believe that these things should be the staple of an English course.

Interestingly enough, Eunson closes with what sounds like hope tinged with nostalga (at least he is offering a suggestion that seems reasonable)
It is not only possible but highly desirable to go back to the future by building on curriculum models of 40 years ago and make them relevant, interesting, motivating and enriching for students of the 21st century.

(those watching this blog closely(!) will notice that this post has been changed to reflect a more considered position - I must thank Baden himself for prompting this rewrite!)



At 3:36 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Scott:

contact this nerd burger at some stage (, 03.9905.2131, and let's talk. Better still, come out to Monash and talk to some of my 300+ writing students, many of whom seem to seem to be nerd burgers as well: they're not happy with what they learnt (or, more pointedly, didn't learn) in pre-tertiary English.

At 10:05 am, Blogger Scott said...

Hi Baden, thanks for the invitation! I've rephrased/reworked my comments to be more constructive (I hope you don't mind). Originally, I had meant to say a little more about the article, but just didn't have the time.

This is not a debate that is going away anytime soon.


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