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one step beyond

November 24, 2014

While I recall an evening spent with Madness playing live mid-1980s at the Perth Concert Hall and nothing the bouncers attempted could stop skinheads from tearing up chairs in the front rows, this is more of a statement of gratitude than a review.

The song’s exuberance captures a sense of the anticipation I felt last Tuesday as I caught a train to Shenton Park instead of undertaking my usual drive.

Our purpose as a group of English teachers flocking to Shenton College – a teacher development school – was to converse. Ideas shared were based on new WACE English courses, particularly the exam brief which flags changes ahead.

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What follows is taken from my notes on the day’s conversations.

Examinable content from 2016 asks our students to

  • Compare texts from similar/ different genres
  • Compare & contrast distinctive features
  • Analyse & critically appraise conventions
  • Create a range of texts
  • Reflect on texts
  • That is, understand relationships.

There will be shifts in what we will have to do in our classes.

Thus: Intense analysis of short pieces of text.

We look at language features rather than whole texts/ ideas & thinking. Year 7 writing will be our starting point; renewed focus will attend to writing well.

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Text sharing marked the passage of workshop sessions:

Blackfish. Perks of Being a Wallflower. Zusak’s The Messenger. Persepolis. Z For Zachariah. Prius, Diesel and Red Bull ads. Tomb Raider. Resident Evil. Into the Wild. Megadeth song lyrics. Time Magazine covers. Even a Supertramp album cover.

Representation continues to rule along with identity, culture and ideology.

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Reflection spiralled through our discussions on return to school even as exam marking continued. Prompts, markers and signposts all serve to shape the shift we experience as future-becoming.
What I witness is how we come to be one step beyond.

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