A colleague who had attended a CPL workshop recently posed a question about how to move away from rigid formula text types. TRIO’s advice is to consider a BIG PICTURE concept – such as remembrance (linking to ANZAC Day) and collecting a text set that relates to that big picture. The example has Memorial by Shaun Tan, a Frank Hurley image from WW1, the song ‘The Band played Walzting Matilda’ and the Australian War Memorial website. This set covers multimodal, visual, spoken, print and digital texts. Students can respond to each of these texts in different ways because each of these texts has a different audience and purpose.
There is no need to tie anyone down to what can be taught in what term!
Refreshing idea isn’t it!!
Another novel idea is to ask the students what they would like to read!
Oh gosh! Student interest is encouraged!
This is not TRIO speaking, this is from the Australian Curriculum and the NSW English K-10 syllabus. (Read page 26 of the hard copy if you are not convinced.) So how do you get your head around a text type free approach. Ask the students how they would like to respond to a range of texts. Letters, images, poems, posters etc. Then plan a focus on composing and use quality texts to show students how real texts are organised.
We had put ourselves in straight-jackets with our fixation on the structure of a few text types. We were all caught up in it. There is freedom and enjoyment to be gained from looking at the wide range of fabulous picture books being published every year. And the internet is endless and more than just a cute youtube clip to introduce a topic.
Embrace the idea of a text set loosely chosen from a big picture idea or concept. AND then look at each text to examine how the text is organised and how it needs to be read – the ‘Englishness’ of the text. So TRIO suggests
- ask the students about what they like to read
- choose some really good books
- look at different text forms – digital, print, spoken, visual
- teach students how to write quality sentences
AND ABOVE ALL – have some fun with your class looking at, reading, responding to and composing texts. Remember when you used to have fun?