Writing styles

English teachers said to focus on grammar and punctuation as writing declines

The emphasis on reading skills is also intended to foster the enjoyment of reading.

Peter Knapp, an expert in teaching writing, said the sharing of responsibility for teaching writing between different subjects was introduced 30 years ago and has never been properly enacted. Science didn’t think about teaching sentence structure, and English didn’t think about teaching scientific report writing.

Sarah Mitchell, Minister of Education for New South Wales.Credit:James Alcock

“The reality is that no one does,” he said.

Maureen Abrahams, head of English at Asquith Girls High School, said pupils often had brilliant ideas but couldn’t express them due to limited writing skills. She said English would still focus on literature, but welcomed the new responsibility for literacy. “I think with writing and literacy there are deep connections to English as a subject,” she said.

But Ms Gold said writing styles differed between subjects and English teachers shouldn’t have to teach skills best left to other faculties. Science, for example, used the passive voice, which was avoided in English. “We like that students’ writing is active, dynamic and not detached or withdrawn unless we ask for it,” she said.

“Often, students who perform only poorly [do so] because they don’t trust the language of their discipline, and it’s not up to English to teach it.


Rebecca Birch, head of humanities and English teacher at Northholm Grammar, said she understood the new approach. “It’s about knowledge and understanding that we’ve so far supposed to give students when they get to high school, but that’s clearly not the case for a lot of students,” she said. .

However, many English teachers themselves never learned skills such as grammar in school or college, and NESA is expected to fill a skills shortage. “Three years of literary studies will not be enough under this new program, so universities need to step up their offerings,” she said.

NESA will also release a draft math curriculum for grades 3-10, in which some multiplication tables will be introduced in grade 3 and the rest in grade 4. is aligned – should follow Singapore’s lead and introduce them in Year 2, and have students master them in Year 3.

The new secondary curriculum will also do away with a three-tiered approach to math in Years 9 and 10, in which there are programs of varying difficulty, and instead have core subjects that equip students for standard math. HSC, and more difficult options that prepare students. for harder materials.


A NESA spokesperson said the recommendations are being incorporated into the new NSW curriculum.

“The new content will more explicitly integrate writing skills into all subject areas. To equip teachers delivering the new curriculum, NESA is providing teachers with enhanced support materials that will include instructional guidance,” the spokesperson said.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said plans for English and maths curricula – which will become compulsory in 2024 – would create space for deeper learning, put more emphasis on reasoning and math problem solving and better prepare students for HSC courses.

“Our goal is to raise standards in reading, writing and numeracy to provide all students with an excellent education and the benefits that come with it,” she said.

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