Recently I received an email asking what to say to teachers who want to teach writing using the NSW English syllabus but are keeping on with text type templates and scaffolds. In case you know anyone like this, here is my reply.
There is definitely a shift away from formula writing in text type templates. If you go to the glossary of the syllabus you will find great definitions for purpose and audience well as types of text. Note in the definition of types of text the words, “texts whose primary focus…” this is there because realistically effective texts have never been the formulaic patterns we have been teaching. Think about NAPLAN: The writing task expects students to write based on the prompt and criteria not to a specific text type formula. In addition the syllabus provides us with what to teach about different texts written for different purposes. Purpose and audience keep cropping up in the syllabus outcomes and content. As we read and respond to texts one of the things we will be doing is deconstructing the text features and language features to see what makes it effective and then experimenting with writing modelled on those features. Also look at the processes which organise the content in the syllabus. They are:
· engaging personally with texts
· developing and applying contextual knowledge
· understanding and applying knowledge of language forms and features.
So there is content related to context and language forms and features. By teaching the content organised under these processes we address the features of texts written for different purposes. I hope this helps. Regards…