EDEE400 Literacies in Context

Peter Crane

Ass.1 Analysis of the literacy demands of the Y7-10 Music Syllabus and support documents. Introduction
The Music Years 7-10 Syllabus in its Introduction (Board of Studies 2003:5) notes that it operates within the parameters of the Board of Studies NSW (BOS) K-10 Curriculum Framework. This Framework expressly outlines what BOS sees as attributes students should possess upon completion of their K-10 studies. The ‘broad learning outcomes’ (outcomes) are all predicated on a robust student literacy. It is well to consider these outcomes as both part of, yet distinct from, the Y7-10 Music Syllabus (syllabus). The outcomes are remarkable in their scope. Among its aims the BOS curriculum seeks to promote in students: an engagement with lifelong learning; a moral, spiritual and ethical participation in society; an appreciation of social justice and diversity; a facility with new technology and art; and all within the cultivation of a positive and optimistic self-image and outlook (Board of Studies 2003:5). Implied within this comprehensive engagement with the 21st century is the need for a literacy that can cope with the breadth and depth of the Board’s vision. BOS has taken a lofty view of its role and responsibilities in educating the K-10 student population. The introduction to the syllabus is an appropriate place to record the ideals that the

there are two aspects of the process that teachers can influence. listening and speaking. Literacy The NSW Department of Education and Training (DET) Literacy Policy (Policy) states that ‘Literacy is the ability to understand and evaluate meaning through reading and writing. are in the written format. needs to be weighed against other obligations placed on the student. Teachers can give students an appreciation of context and on a more prosaic level. has placed the responsibility for facilitating student understanding with the teacher. especially major external exams. The Policy is saying that literacy is about understanding and creating meaning. can ensure students can actually read the material presented. This statement acknowledges the expanded usages of text by including ‘viewing and representing’ which includes multi-literate and multi-modal text applications. viewing and representing’ (DET 2006: 1. Core syllabus material is predominantly print based and examinations. The Policy.’ Gee (2003: 9) is specific in placing meaning as being a consequence of context: words plus context allows meaning. It is this multi-facetted view of the educator’s role that presages contemporary views of literacy. Scholarly discourse on meaning. populist alarm expressed at falling standards of literacy is based on essentially written-format testing . grammar.1. phonemic awareness and other language based mechanical components of literacy are treated ‘in the early years. Furthermore.NSW political/pedagogical complex uses as its foundation. in viewing all teachers as teachers of literacy.1). however. While this may seem an unrealistic expectation given that the deriving of meaning is a complex yet subjective act. Spelling.

1 – Performance. Having assisted students to grasp the meaning and usage of the term the teacher also needs to ensure the word itself is correctly spelt and that its tenses. Syllabus Requirements The syllabus and its support documents. Section 6 of the syllabus is comprised of the Student Learning Outcomes (outcomes). It is in the Listening section of musical skills though that language and especially writing is emphasized.1 & 5. requires students to perform using various notation symbols and notation technologies. which would include the Policy. also in the Performance section.and not on meaning-creation activities. Whether this is in standard musical notation or non-standard.2. In the table is encapsulated the reading and writing demands for Stage 4 and Stage 5 students (BOS 2003: 12). This area of music study is most closely aligned with musicology. 4. These concepts are technical terms used throughout music study and they need to be appreciated both as musical items and as parts of language. 4. Teachers still have a community-perceived need to promote a functioning literacy in students. the literacies call for symbol literacy and a literacy with ICT technology. plurals and other grammatical aspects are explicitly described. A review of the outcomes reveals the literacy demands and provides insight into the ways teachers can assist students by designing teaching sequences that address these demands.2 & 5. Students need to demonstrate understanding of musical concepts. provide teachers with firm guidelines as to their role in student literacy. An old story in music tells of the pop musician looking at a sheet of music with a perplexed expression and .

Students are to demonstrate understanding via: observing. and discussing.10 asks students to understand the influence of technology and to seek an appreciation of the aesthetic in music (BOS 2003: 13).7 adds to this by asking for: ‘analysis. analyzing. Researching the topic will also need teacher assistance to indicate standards appropriate and how to incorporate research material into an essay. 4. The writing of an essay which poses: an argument for or against an aesthetic.8 adds ‘discrimination’ to the requirements. in the Listening section especially. is where the need to write essays and demonstrate higher level thinking is most clearly evident. or cultural or social justice component. Whether assessment is interpreted in its common usage as ‘exams to be passed’ or seen as integral to the learning process as ‘assessment for learning’. he could not read the lyrics. A look at the outcomes for Listening gives an insight into where the study of music requires literacy skills like other Humanities subjects. Outcome 5. Writing The support document ‘Advice on Programming and Assessment’ requires student responses in oral. The outcomes. the written exam or task is still an essential tool in the teaching and learning process. responding. social. The School Certificate mark in music is assessed and awarded by the school so it is appropriate and . is a challenging work for a Y7-10 student.’ Outcome 5. which incorporates a historical context and a glossary of technical terms. cultural and historic contexts. discriminating.finally saying that although he was fine with the music. comparison. and critical discussion of music from different stylistic. Outcome 5. but particularly in written form (BOS 2004: 17).7 – Listening.

Grammar and form are explained to provide teacher and student with models of the essay that can be practiced to maximize student facility . The outcomes.7 seeks a response and four types of written response are explained and modeled for the student (Feez & Joyce 1998: 39). The texts: Writing Skills (Feez & Joyce 1998) and Genre. discussion. when allied with assessment. analysis. critical discussion and appreciation of historical. In Knapp & Watkins. responses. An introduction to style could be useful as there are choices as regards citing. Music in particular has its own citing style and students should be made aware of this.achievable that students have very clear ideas of what is expected from them in terms of the standard of their work. the genre of arguing is examined especially in light of written argument as exemplified by the school essay (Knapp & Watkins 2005: 187). Text. This writing may be of a short form but will focus on the formal essay. it needs to be practiced correctly. Referencing sources is an integral part of researching and explicit demonstrations of procedure and conventions will be necessary. Grammar (Knapp & Watkins 2005) give explicit instruction in text types that correspond to those sought in the outcomes. Outcome 4. Just as writing needs to be practiced. Scaffolding and Support The teacher needs to incorporate teaching sequences that cover researching a topic and the art of writing. ask students for written observations. The library is part of the research process and the students need to be made aware of how to effectively use the resource. cultural and aesthetic qualities found in music and its study.

which includes understanding. Standards-based testing. Whether teachers find themselves coaching spelling or brainstorming understanding of aesthetics in art music. It is also important on an everyday level that the teacher models Standard English and is seen to refer to a dictionary to check spelling and meaning as a matter of course. meaning making and multiliteracies would be better suited.both for assessment and lifelong learning. students should have the common literacy skills that are appropriate for their post-school endeavours. Popular debate. school examinations and job applications still require and evaluate a person’s writing and in some cases. the Policy is specific in requiring all teachers to be ‘responsible for the teaching and learning of literacy skills…’ References . Notwithstanding expanded views on literacy. All of the text types alluded to in the outcomes can be found in the two texts where they are comprehensively explained and demonstrated. which seems to enjoy its adverse criticism of literacy and numeracy standards. their handwriting. At the very least. This latter application of literacy requires teaching that reflects the fuller view. supports its discourse with written-test results and statistics. For students who see tertiary education as an option the more modern application of literacy. it is still important that educators value common literacy skills and its teaching. Conclusion Although professional usage of the term ‘literacy’ has expanded far beyond ‘reading and writing’ it is well remembered that much common usage of the word does in fact focus on a person’s reading and writing capabilities.

edu. Phoenix Education.det. M.Board of Studies 2003. 1998. & Joyce. Albert Park. H. Board of Studies. Victoria. 2003. 2005. Sydney. Genre. p. Feez. Music Years 7-10: Syllabus. eds G. 2nd ed. Sydney. . P. Knapp. University of New South Wales Press. Writing Skills. ‘Literacy and Social Minds’.nsw. Anstey.9. Sydney. Board of Studies. in: The Literacy Lexicon. Bull & M.shtml Gee. J. Text. Department of Education and Training 2006.2011 from https://www.03. & Watkins. S. Grammar. Pearson Education. Frenchs Forest. Retrieved 10. Music Years 7-10: Advice on Programming and Assessment.au/policies/curriculum/schools/literacy/PD20050288. Board of Studies 2004. Literacy K-12 Policy.

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