Classic Texts in the New Syllabus: Dr Nina Cook, Pymble Ladies’ College.
the New Syllabus:
Dr Nina Cook,
Our aim whilst implementing the new syllabus is to promote a culture of thinking within our school. Whilst planning for next year we see an opportunity to develop the work that our Director of Teaching and Learning is implementing and that is being furthered through relationships with schools such as Masada.
What if education were less about acquiring skills and knowledge and more about cultivating the dispositions and habits of mind that students will need for a lifetime of learning, problem solving, and decision making? (Ron Ritchhart)
“…teachers already strive to teach for understanding. So this performance view of teaching for understanding does not aim at radical, burn-the-bridges innovation. Its banner is not “completely new and wholly different” but a just-as-crucial “more and better.” Perkins, David and Tina Blythe, “Putting Understanding Up Front”
Teaching for Understanding provides teachers with a language and structure for planning their curriculum and for discussing teaching for understanding with other colleagues and with their students. It also stresses in depth learning.
How Medea and A Streetcar Named Desireled us to our Generative Topics:
Edith Hall says of Medea, ‘The play must have been ethically shocking, Medea stands alone amongst tragic felons in committing her offence with impunity.’
This led us to see that both texts allow an exploration the question: what is justice?
Both texts study the effect of being outside the mainstream of a society and how social understanding may be developed through empathy and tolerance.
Tennessee Williams has said: ‘… people that have to fight for their reason; people for whom the impact of life and experience from day to day, night to night, is difficult; people who come close to cracking. That’s my world, those are my people.’
So these two texts allow students to investigate how the effect of social isolation and lack of understanding can lead to breakdown, suffering and violence.
From this focus we are already considering some of the General Capabilities outlined in the new syllabus:
Understanding Goals, ‘identify the concepts, processes, and skills that we most want our students to understand. They are worded in two ways: as statements (in forms such as, "Students will understand ..." or "Students will appreciate ...") and as open-ended questions, what do I want my students to understand after having studied this unit?
Outcome 1: A student responds to and composes increasingly sophisticated and sustained texts for understanding, interpretation, critical analysis, imaginative expression and pleasure.
Outcome 5: A student thinks imaginatively, creatively and interpretively about information, ideas and texts when responding to and composing texts.
Outcome 6: A student investigates the relationships the relationships between and among texts.
Outcome 7; A student understands and evaluates the diverse ways texts can represent personal and public worlds.
Outcome 8: A student questions, challenges and evaluates cultural assumptions in texts and their effects on meaning.