Teaching Risk in HSC English: The view from the ground

Year: 1995

Author: McFadden, Mark, Phillip, Joan, Wallace, Joy, Washington, Paul

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The NSW Board of Studies has initiated a process of syllabus reform in HSC English. In this context of reform teachers in a rural region of Central Western NSW are participating in a study to explore their perceptions and understandings of: English as an HSC subject; the professional and institutional contexts in which HSC English is taught; and their own professional development needs in relation to HSC English. In relation to the HSC English curriculum, the research is exploring teachers' immediate practical concerns regarding the specific content of HSC English courses from year to year, the examination process, and related issues. In addition, teachers' sense of involvement or lack of it in decisions about what is to be taught and how it is to be taught, and the institutional practices and policies which affect the quality of teaching of HSC English are being examined. Finally, teachers' professional development needs in relation to the HSC English curriculum, in general, and also with regard to the current review process will also be examined. To what extent teachers see themselves as autonomous professional agents in the context of the classroom and their perceived relationship to hierarchies of control - the HSC system at large - is a crucial issue in the research. This paper describes briefly the setting up of the research project, the
theoretical framework underpinning it, and attempts a tentative reading of the research to date.