The Literary Knowledge project is pleased to announce a new publication arising from the project. ‘(K)now you see it, (k)now you don’t: literary knowledge in the Australian Curriculum: English’ by CIs Larissa McLean Davies and Wayne Sawyer has now been published in the Journal of Curriculum Studies.
Australia has recently moved from having curricula developed within individual states to national curricula, including in English. This move in Australia has coincided with debate over Michael Young’s call for ‘bringing knowledge back in’. English has historically been epistemologically unstable with an ever-contestable knowledge base, and this is especially true of literary knowledge. The Australian Curriculum: English was nevertheless framed in early consultation papers as focused primarily on knowledge—a focus reflected in the main organizing elements moving from the ‘traditional’ language mode organizers ‘reading’, ‘writing’,’ listening’, ‘speaking’, etc., to the organizers ‘Language’, ‘Literature’ and ‘Literacy’. Here we investigate the specific uses of the words ‘knowledge’ and related terms such as ‘know’ and ‘knowing’ as one kind of analysis of how knowledge plays out in the Curriculum. We show that as the Curriculum itself developed, the constituent elements of the phrase ‘knowledge, understanding and skills’ came to align specifically to the constituent elements of the organizers ‘Language’, ‘Literature’ and ‘Literacy’, to the point where the term ‘knowledge’ came to be attached almost exclusively to ‘Language’, and then mainly in the Years Foundation—Year 6. This ‘Language knowledge’ then became continually positioned as underlying the ‘skills’ of ‘Literacy’, so that Literature is seen to be almost arbitrary to the fundamental imperatives of the Curriculum—a means through which the cultural intentions of the Curriculum might be serviced.