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Re: [xmca] new national curriculum in Australia: crackpot linguists

The sceptisim of the "back to basics" (yawn) approach to "re-introducing" grammar in schools is summed up nicely in a letter to the editor in the Sydney Morning Herald yesterday (see below).  I often wonder when the 'whole language' versus phonics/structural grammar debate that always pitches the two as polar opposites will ever end. Politicians toss the label 'grammar' around as if it were content to be delivered rather than anything more. But loads of great work has been done in Australia at the 'chalkface' integrating grammar into literacy instruction using text/genre-based principles, as well as other approaches.

Of course, this is all rushed due to our debilitating 3 year parliamentary term, isn't it?


Letter to the editor

I am interested to discover what exactly Julia Gillard has in mind 
when she talks about grammar. 

Does she lean towards traditional grammar (Nesfield), transformational 
(Chomsky), prescriptive, descriptive, modern? Or is she a Halliday 

English grammar has fallen prey to many linguistic fashions over the 
years and with each redefinition of its functions students have been 
left in confusion and ignorance.  Thanks to the efforts of many 
crackpot linguists, grammar has become increasingly incomprehensible 
and eventually  it seemed to disappear from  the English curriculum 
altogether.  As a result it is debatable how many teachers understand 
grammar well enough to be able to teach it. 

But before grammar can be taught  Ms Gillard’s job will be to broker 
some sort of agreement between the linguistic factions, to agree on 
what grammar is. 

Anne Rxyz  Killopli 

Types Of Figures As Domains Of Experience 
Halliday & Matthiessen (1999: 131): 
The domain outside this conscious-semiotic [sensing, saying] centre of 
the ideational universe is then quintessentially either active (doing) 
or inert (being) … 

On Tuesday, March 02, 2010, at 01:21PM, "Andy Blunden" <ablunden@mira.net> wrote:
>Our immensely incompetent Labor Government yesterday 
>announced their new national curriculum for schools 
>(formerly this was a state responsibility).
>It features the teaching of history from the very beginning, 
>including indigenous history (this is an unambiguous good) 
>and emphasises the 3 Rs, including grammar. No curriculum 
>has been set yet in Geography and other subjects.
>Helen raised with me off-line this problem of reintroducing 
>the teaching of grammar: who is going to educate the 
>educators? Anyone under 55 today did not learn grammar at 
>school or until they did a foreign language, when they 
>learnt the grammar of the other language. (Grammar means 
>"Which icon do I click now?")
>What do xmca-ers think about teaching grammar? (I am in favour.)
>Also, many progressive educators here are opposed to 
>curricula in toto: education should be about learning not 
>content. Do xmca-ers agree?
>Given the disastrous implementation of policies by this 
>government over the past 2 years, I fear for our education 
>system. What do people think?
>Andy Blunden http://www.erythrospress.com/
>Classics in Activity Theory: Hegel, Leontyev, Meshcheryakov, 
>Ilyenkov $20 ea
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