Secret Squirrel Stuff in the Australian Curriculum English: The genesis of the ‘new’ grammar

Exley, Beryl (2016) Secret Squirrel Stuff in the Australian Curriculum English: The genesis of the ‘new’ grammar. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 39(1), pp. 74-85.

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In much the same way that a squirrel stores a range of food in a range of places, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority’s (ACARA) Australian Curriculum: English (ACARA, 2015) stores references to grammar in a range of places. This paper explores some seemingly ‘hidden’ grammars within the AC:E to (re)discover their genesis and how they unfold across Foundation to Year 6. The first ‘Secret Squirrel’ moment centres on the introduction of a new grammar which weaves traditional Latin-based and Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) theory. The second ‘Secret Squirrel’ moment centres on the use of one sub-system of SFL Theory, the System of Appraisal, and its potential to provide an analytical lens for ‘reading’ the interpersonal meaning within narratives. The remainder of the paper draws on Goodson’s (1990) notion of curriculum as a social construction, paying attention to the levels of processes and (potential) practice. This part of the paper focuses on the System of Appraisal as it is introduced in the AC:E and then translates the Content Descriptions to an example analysis. One stimulus text, Melanie Watt’s (2012) children’s picture book ‘Scaredy Squirrel at the Beach’, is introduced then analysed using the System of Appraisal as an analytical lens for identifying how language choices ‘go to work’ (Macken-Horarik, 2003, p. 285) on readers, that is how Watt’s language choices are crafted so a ‘compliant’ child reader (Martin & White, 2005, p. 62) has the opportunity to ‘feel with’ and thus ‘adjudicate’ the behaviour of characters in particular ways (Macken-Horarik, 2003, p. 285).

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ID Code: 91211
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: grammar, functional grammar, Australian Curriculum: English, curriculum as social construction, language choice, narrative, appraisal, content description, attitude, graduation, engagement
ISSN: 1038-1562
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY (130200) > English and Literacy Curriculum and Pedagogy (excl. LOTE ESL and TESOL) (130204)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Children & Youth Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Current > Schools > School of Early Childhood
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Australian Literacy Educators' Association
Deposited On: 13 Dec 2015 23:51
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2016 06:27

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