Waikato Journal of Education


" All right", said the Cat; and this time it vanished quite slowly, beginning with the end of the tail, and ending with the grin, which remained some time after the rest had gone.

"Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin, " thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life!"

Lewis Carroll

The English in the New Zealand Curriculum (1994) document has attracted its fair share of critics (Duthie, 1994; Locke, 1996). But with the notable exception of Locke (see Houtere, 1998) critics have failed to articulate alternatives. Some of their criticisms have centred on curriculum structure, and especially the imposition of eight levels of achievement objectives, and on terminology used to describe the objectives. While accepting these criticisms, the English curriculum is more fundamentally flawed because it is underpinned by schema theory, and because it fails to explicitly link information processing and thinking strategies to text types. This paper backgrounds some previous criticisms of the curriculum before exploring these two curious concerns and proposing an alternative framework.


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