Constructing English in New Zealand: A report on a decade of reform
Locke, T. (2007). Constructing English in New Zealand: A report on a decade of reform. L1 - Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 7(2), 5-33.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/4054
In 1991, the newly elected National Government of New Zealand set in train a major reform of the New Zealand national curriculum and, a little later, a major reform of the New Zealand qualifications system. These reforms have had a major impact on the construction of English as a subject in New Zealand secondary schools, and the work and professional identity of teachers. This article uses as a basis for analysis a framework which posits four paradigms for subject English and proceeds to examine the current national English curriculum in New Zealand for its underlying discourses. In specific terms, it explores questions of partition and progression, and terminology. In respect of progression, it argues that the current curriculum has imposed a flawed model on teachers and students, in part because of its commitment to the assignment of decontextualised outcomes statements (‘achievement objects’) to staged levels of student development (levels). It also argues that much of the terminology used by the document has had a negative impact on metalinguistic classroom practice. Finally, while it views the national English curriculum as a discursively mixed bag, it notes an absence of critical discourses and a tendency, in recent qualifications reforms, to construct English teachers as technicians and the subject as skills-based.
This article has been published in the journal: L1 - Educational Studies in Language and Literature. Rights: http://www.ilo.uva.nl/projecten/Gert/L1EducationResearch/. © International Association for the Improvement of Mother Tongue Education.
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