Constructing a pedagogical framework for English writing at upper-secondary schools in Papua New Guinea

Year: 2009

Author: Archer, Jennifer, Aisoli-Orake, Rachel, Chen, Shen

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Teachers of writing in English in Papua New Guinea (PNG) face many challenges. PNG is a developing country with many high schools located in remote, near inaccessible areas. PNG is one of the most linguistically diverse countries in the world, with English the second, third, or fourth language of many people. For almost all secondary school students, English is taught as a second language (L2). Traditional PNG culture does not have a written language, so reading and writing are not common activities in many parts of the country. Many English teachers did not train as English teachers.

The first author conducted six site visits to schools in geographically diverse parts of PNG to study the implementation of the Secondary Year 11 and 12 Language and Literacy (L&L) syllabus, focusing on writing in English classes. She conducted interviews with teachers and observed them teaching (using the Quality Teaching Model as a basis for observation) on multiple occasions. The data she gathered provided evidence that teachers were struggling to implement the syllabus successfully. Many students remained uninterested in learning to write in English. Teachers indicated that the syllabus made unrealistic demands of them. They were not provided with appropriate pedagogical strategies that might help them achieve the syllabus outcomes. This lack of pedagogical support was particularly acute for teachers who had little or no training in teaching English writing.

In response, a pedagogical framework is proposed to help teachers implement the Senior L&L syllabus in writing in English classes. The framework has four domains and associated components: (1) Intellectual Stimulation (including the components of purposeful stimulation, authentic communication, and meaningful information); (2) Productive Writing Environment (including the components of teachers’ preparation, students’ interaction, and group collaboration); (3) Cultural Relevance (including the components of understanding localisation, promoting globalisation, and encouraging integration among disciplines); and (4) Human Development (including the components of individual recognition, knowledge construction, and critical evaluation).