QUT Digital Repository: http://eprints.qut.edu.au/34458
Exley, Beryl (2010) Narratives for novices : is there a place for edgy texts in edgy NAPLAN communities? Practically Primary. (In Press)
© Copyright 2010 ALEA.
Final author copy: written for “Practically Primary”, October 2010 edition, published by ALEA www.alea.edu.au. Images removed due to copyright.
Narratives for novices: Is there a place for edgy texts in edgy NAPLAN communities?
Beryl Exley, Queensland University of Technology The genre of narratives has become the genre of choice in many classrooms since the introduction of NAPLAN into Australian schools. Yet, Knapp and Watkins (2005) argue that narratives are the least understood of all the genres. Despite wide-spread acceptance that narratives serve the social purpose of entertaining, they can also be more edgy, offering a powerful social or information role. This paper considers the effects of exposing novices to less standard realms of social discourse and disciplinary knowledge vis-a-vis a more clinical treatment focused on ‘standard’ narratives. I argue that we should not shy away from the challenges of edgy narratives just because our students are novice readers. The same holds true for our work in communities on the edge, that is where poverty, multiculturalism or multilingualism and systemic failure are the norm. I am part of an Australian Research Council (ARC) Linkage Grant (LP 0990289) working in such a community. Like many such situations, teachers in these communities are caught in the fray of establishing a dialogue between the culture of federally mandated performance orientated reforms and the cultures and discourses of the lives and future needs of their students (see Exley & Singh, in press). In contrast, Kress (1993, p. 18) has long advocated for genre pedagogy where ‘students move backwards and forwards, through alternate processes of induction and deduction, between language and metalanguage, activity and received...