Select texts

Select texts (How will my students get there?)

Text selection

The conceptual approach to programming requires that concepts, outcomes, content and assessment, rather than the choice of texts, drive the learning.

However, the syllabus is very clear about the place and significance of texts in the learning design process: Students will work towards course outcomes through the close reading of, listening to or viewing … a wide variety of texts. (Text requirements, Stage 4)

the [text] we choose will contain within it the potentialities for our talk - subject matter, ideas, language and image, provocations to memory, and so on – choosing a [text] is a high-value activity. They who choose are exercising power.

Tell me by Aidan Chambers 1994 p.61

Watch a video icon

In this video, Alison Simpson (University of Sydney) describes what to consider when selecting literature.

Alison simpson video thumbnail. Click to play.

The texts selected to teach a concept need to be examples of quality literature and authentic texts. They should be good examples of the concept in use.

For example if the concept is point of view select texts that show how authors use point of view as a tool to position the reader in informative, imaginative and persuasive texts.

Students need to consider the concept in a variety of texts, in different:

  • text forms – poetry, film, drama, nonfiction and fictional texts

  • types of texts and modes – print, visual, spoken, media, multimedia and digital

  • contexts – such as other countries and times. For a complete list see the Content and text requirements for Early Stage 1 to Stage 3, Stage 4, Stage 5 and Life Skills.

What are the reading, viewing and listening needs of my students?

While students are developing their reading skills, they can be sophisticated viewers and listeners with the capacity to engage with complex ideas.

What do I want students to respond to and compose?

Responding and composing work together, to enable students to learn about language while they are using language. Students need frequent opportunities to respond to a variety of texts before they are asked to produce their own compositions to demonstrate deep understanding.

Will all students study the same texts?

The same concept can be taught using texts appropriate to the students’ skills. For characterisation, students can read Charlie and the chocolate factory by Roald Dahl or Mr McGee by Pamela Allen.

In secondary English classrooms, students can read different novels, as long as the unit’s concept, outcomes, content and assessment are the same.

Text selection is an efficient way of addressing the Learning across the curriculum content in the syllabus.

Conceptual programming allows texts to be drawn from many contexts. For example, a unit of learning on the concept characterisation may use a range of texts from Asia, Australia and other cultures and times. A unit of learning with the concept of persuasion may use contemporary digital texts addressing a variety of global issues, including sustainability, to teach the concept.