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

Thanks Phil. Your explanation explains to me why there seem to be cross-purposes in this discussion.
Phil Chappell wrote:
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 follower? 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

Andy Blunden http://www.erythrospress.com/
Classics in Activity Theory: Hegel, Leontyev, Meshcheryakov, Ilyenkov $20 ea

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