Teaching English using textual concepts

I know I just finished saying that my blog would mostly be used for PBL reflection in the near future.

But there is a new resource available for English teachers and English curriculum boffins that I must share immediately.

The English Teachers Association NSW, in partnership with the NSW Department of Education, have created a resource for programming in K-10 English.

It is organised in ‘stages’ (rather than in year levels), but once you get your head around stage 5 = year 9 & 10, stage 4 = year 7 & 8, and backward in pairs from there, you will get the picture.

English Textual Concepts - 'The Textual Concepts and Processes resource'

English Textual Concepts – ‘The Textual Concepts and Processes resource’

The creators of this resource analysed the NSW English syllabus (which in theory maps on to the Australian Curriculum) to identify core concepts and processes implied by the curriculum documents.

The 15 ‘textual concepts‘ are:

  1. argument
  2. authority
  3. character
  4. code and convention
  5. context
  6. genre
  7. connotation, imagery and symbol
  8. intertextuality
  9. literary value
  10. narrative
  11. perspective
  12. point of view
  13. representation
  14. style
  15. theme

And the six ‘learning processes‘ are:

  1. understanding
  2. engaging personally
  3. connecting
  4. engaging critically
  5. experimenting
  6. reflecting
First six concepts, with learning processes represented across.

First six concepts, with learning processes represented across.

There are questions that jump to mind for me when looking at this resource, including:

  • how are the ‘learning processes’ intended to interact/overlap with the ‘general capabilities‘ in the Australian Curriculum?
  • where do ‘language mode’ and ‘medium of production’ fit into these concepts? Is it in ‘code and convention’, or…?

Overall I am excited by this contribution to English curriculum understandings. The conversations it will make possible between primary and secondary English are especially promising!

I highly recommend a look.

How might this approach to English subject content (knowledge and skills) interface with the curriculum (Australian Curriculum or otherwise) being used in your area? It’s been designed for NSW obviously, but could it have application beyond there?

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  1. #1 by Imelda Judge on July 13, 2016 - 9:57 pm

    This resource is brilliant isn’t it Kelli? We have already started the process of reshaping our programs to accommodate the Textual Concepts. 🙂

    • #2 by kmcg2375 on July 14, 2016 - 2:43 pm

      That’s great to hear! Did you find you were already covering most of them? Or did some need ‘beefing up’ in your program?

  2. #3 by Prue Greene on July 15, 2016 - 4:55 pm

    Hi Kelli
    So glad you like the resource and see the power of it. I thought I might clarify a couple points.

    The NSW Syllabus incorporates the Australian Curriculum content and, in fact, in the English Textual Concepts syllabus links documents (also on the website) you can easily identify that content by the ACARA codes.

    The general capabilities have already been embedded and integrated into NSW syllabus content – so by teaching the depth and breadth of the syllabus through the concepts the general capabilities will be addressed. Of course text selection addresses many of these too.

    Of course many existing programs do teach the concepts but I’m not too sure if the students know it! The conceptual approach is really about the explicit teaching of the concepts in order to improve student composing and responding to texts. The processes ensure that students experiment with the concepts to demonstrate their learning and then transfer this learning to the next unit of work…

    • #4 by kmcg2375 on July 15, 2016 - 6:20 pm

      Thanks Prue! I can see how overlapping with the General Capabilities won’t be an issue in NSW. But I’m thinking here of other states that may wish to pick up the resource. In QLD for example English programs would have General Capabilities mapped on separately to curriculum ‘content’. So that will throw people, I think. But hopefully not scare them off!

      I was also just musing on the ETA FB group about the possibility of the learning processes being read as discipline specific ‘literacies’ for English. Food for thought. Interested in your take on this.

  3. #5 by multimodalme on July 15, 2016 - 6:13 pm

    The Textual Conepts are readily adapted into existing programs – we are integrating these into our units as we progress through scope and sequence reviews. Our COS also worked on embedding concepts with specific aspects of writing, too.

  4. #6 by biancah80 on July 16, 2016 - 11:12 am

    I’ve gotta commit to looking through site, cos I know it’s going to be totally awesome. I think the fact that I’m not HT English, and not responsible for leading programming in the faculty, is why I’m reticent. However, wouldn’t it be cool to incorporate these concepts/processes in a semi overt way in my year 7/8 PBL book. Prue and I have had lots of chats about the power of PBL in English, and how it reflects the potential of conceptual programming. Maybe I’ll ask them if they mind me basing some projects on them, as the book is aligned to the AC anyway, so if there’s overlap it all makes sense, no? Am I rambling? I’m rambling… haha, sorry!

  1. Teaching English using textual concepts — Kelli McGraw – Essays. Articles. Et Cetera…

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