Australian Curriculum: English - What the teachers are saying

Year: 2012

Author: Albright, James, Knezevic, Lisa

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Implementation of the AC: English is now a reality faced by teachers of English across Australia. The views of those who will be ultimately responsible for its implementation within classrooms, collected using an on-line survey, are the focus this paper. Almost 400 teachers of English, across both primary and secondary schools, participated in the survey requiring a time commitment of about half an hour, over a period of approximately six months. The substance of the survey, generated through analysis of a series of focus group professional learning sessions, involved four domains of interest (Curriculum, Teaching English, Planning, and Teacher Learning Needs) and sought both fixed and free format responses from teachers. Information about the survey (including the web link) was disseminated through national and state professional English teacher associations as well as through direct contacting of schools via phone and email.

The survey shows the similarity of the views of primary and secondary English teachers in relation to their curriculum use; however, it also highlights their differing perspectives about what is needed to support them in the context of curriculum implementation. The survey reveals interesting differences between the views of primary and secondary teachers of English, including the reported use of web-based materials for planning teaching and learning activities. Analysis of the survey responses paints a picture of the teaching of subject English as having more to do with sources of information from the local (school) level than from external bodies. Privileging of locally generated sources of knowledge by teachers of English illuminates the challenge of meaningful implementation of the AC in this subject area. The survey data is currently informing the collaborative development of strategic interventions to facilitate the implementation of the AC: English, which are the focus of the next phase in the overall project.