Language variation and change in the Australian curriculum English: Integrating sub-strands through a pedagogy of metalogue
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The Language Strand of the Australian Curriculum: English (Australian Curriculum, Assessment & Reporting Authority (ACARA), 2016b) includes the sub-strand of ‘Language Variation and Change’. This sub-strand is a marked space for discovery and discussion of the history and politics of language use. As such, this sub-strand points to an agenda of respect for different languages in use throughout Australia, including the means of communication between Indigenous Australians and those representative of multicultural Australia. We posit that this important sub-strand can be made more enduring by not being treated as a ‘singular’ (Bernstein, 2000) but integrated with Content Descriptions from other Language sub-strands. This integration of knowledge, called ‘regionalisation’ by Bernstein (2000), ‘implies challenges for pedagogic practice’ (Wolmarans, Luckett, & Case, 2016, p. 99). As a way forward, we consider the affordances of an instructive dialogue or metalogue (Bateson, 1972). To demonstrate how such a pedagogy might unfold in a class discussion, we introduce one stimulus text, ‘Old Cat’ (Aquilina, 2016), and consider the ‘Language Variation and Change’ sub-strand requirement for students to recognise that all languages and dialects are of equal value. We then document how integrating the Content Description from the ‘Language Variation and Change’ sub-strand with a Content Description from the ‘Text Structure and Organisation’ sub-strand using a pedagogy of metalogue provides for a deep appreciation about the historical and linguistic accounts of languages. Doing so offers productive discussion about the agenda of respect for the different languages in use between Indigenous Australians and throughout multicultural Australia.
English in Australia
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Curriculum and Pedagogy not elsewhere classified