An evaluation of getting going with genres
: a set of ESL curriculum materials developed for use in Northern Territory Aboriginal schools

  • Pamela Alice Norman

    Student thesis: Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) - CDU


    As leaders in Aboriginal education strive to produce curriculum materials which are suitable for delivery in Aboriginal schools, lessons can be learned about the knowledge and skills needed by writers. This study centred on a set of English materials entitled Getting Going with Genres which had been specifically developed for teachers in Aboriginal schools in the Northern Territory of Australia between 1990 and 1993. The resource was innovative in many ways, the most significant being the involvement of seventy-six Aboriginal teachers in developing the resource, the conduct of writing workshops in schools in remote Aboriginal communities and the application of a genre approach to teaching English as a second language.

    Three conceptual frameworks informed the research design. The organisation, development and application phases of Print's (1993) model of the curriculum process unified the elements being investigated. The Concerns-Based Adoption Model provided the concepts of Stages of Concern, Levels of Use, Innovation Configurations and Interventions which were so important for evaluating the resource in use'. The grounded theory approach to the analysis of qualitative data enabled a theory to emerge from the data. Subjects were the intended audience for the resource; that is, teachers in Northern Territory Aboriginal schools. Data-gathering instruments included a questionnaire by which teachers evaluated the resource by inspection, an interview to determine teachers' levels of use of the resource and a checklist to assess how the components of the resource were being operationalised.

    The results showed that the resource had been widely adopted and had had a profound effect on the way English was taught in Northern Territory Aboriginal schools. With the exception of the methodology which was intended to lead to students writing independently in English, all the critical components of the resource had been successfully implemented. Important qualities of the resource were its reader-friendliness, user-friendliness, models of work and use of topics of relevance to Aboriginal sociocultural contexts. The study identified issues and exemplary practices during the three phases of the curriculum process. Derived from the findings a grounded theory is presented for developing appropriate curriculum materials for Aboriginal schools. Recommendations include the need for improved training of change facilitators to support the implementation process and further research into effective teaching-learning models.
    Date of AwardJan 1998
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorBrian Devlin (Supervisor)

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