By Schools Catalogue Information Service

Impressions: Texts from Asia for the lower Secondary English Classroom
Publisher: Curriculum Corporation
ISBN: 1 86366 415 7
SCIS: 935224
RRP: $14.95

Reflections: Texts from Asia for the Middle Secondary English Classroom
Publisher: Curriculum Corporation
ISBN: 1 86366 416 5
SCIS: 939500
RRP: $19.95

Dimensions: Texts from Asia for the Upper Secondary English Classroom
Publisher: Curriculum Corporation
ISBN: 1 86366 417 3
SCIS: 938638
RRP: $24.95

The National Asian Languages and Studies in Australian Schools (NALSAS) strategy reflects the commitment of the Commonwealth Government to incorporate the teaching of key Asian Languages and cultures in schools across Australia. In respect to studies of Asian cultures, the aim has been to infuse a perspective on Asia across the curriculum, with particular emphasis on the Arts, Studies of society and environment, and English.

The three anthologies published by the Curriculum Corporation, Impressions: Texts from Asia for the Lower Secondary English Classroom, Reflections: Texts from Asia for the Middle Secondary English Classroom; Dimensions: texts from Asia for the Upper Secondary English Classroom, have been funded by the NALSAS taskforce for secondary classrooms. They attempt to address several key aspects of studies of Asia in particular, whilst at the same time incorporating fundamental principles of working around and through texts embodied in National and State English curriculum guidelines.

Impressions, Reflections and Dimensions endeavour to open up dialogue around written and visual texts that testify to the richness and diversity of the cultures in Asia and to the similarities that exist across cultures. Socials and cultural contexts in time and place resonate with the studies of Asia 'project' to dismantle stereotypes and narrow understandings of Asian cultures, lifestyles and traditions. The anthologies work from the understandings that texts embody social and cultural meanings and that the reader/viewer in turn brings particular ways of 'seeing and being' in the world to the text. Close engagement with rich, beautifully produced collections of texts offer students alternative ways of 'seeing and being' in relation to Asia and Asian people, past, present and future.

Impressions, Reflections and Dimensions, individually, and as a collection, cover a variety of text types that move students beyond commonsense understanding into the world of the unknown; offering reflection on themselves as readers/viewers. They also cover a range of topics that appear to have been selected on a perception of 'age appropriateness'. In Impressions the emphasis is on folktales, myths, legends and autobiographical writing; in Reflections political standpoints complement folktales and oral histories; and in Dimensions there is a focus on gender roles, stereotypes, changing personal relationships, large scale political change and personal recounts of living under political oppression.

At all times the voices that echo throughout the anthologies are the voices of the Asian people. These voices bare witness, for example, to the everyday (Beijing Snacks); the historical (The Crow and the Archers); the challenging (I am Not that Women); the political (The Coldest Winter); the contemporary (NP) and the evolving (The Coconut Orchestra). Students are invited to relate to these voices through activities that encourage literal, analytical and critical readings of the texts. Personally, I feel an opportunity for more critical readings of the texts has been missed. For it is the struggle between different discourses, 'Asia' and 'Australia', 'Self' and 'other', and all that exists in between, that develops new ways of 'seeing and being'.

Nevertheless, the outstanding contribution that the anthologies offer is that they value the voices of peoples of Asia, and in doing so avoid speaking for the people of the Asian region. Importantly, they provide Australian students with a rich entry point into the world of difference and, indeed, a world where similarities across cultures defy an unbridgeable gap between people. The anthologies attempt to address what Michael Garbutcheon Singh aptly describes as a 'multivocal curriculum' where the circulation and exchange of Asian voices facilitate the emergence of an 'Asian presence' in Australia from a marginalised and stereotyped space. Related website: < ex.him>.

Reviewed by Julie Hamston, Lecturer, University of Melbourne.
*Published in Viewpoint, Vol 7 No 1, Autumn 1999, pp 10. Reproduced with permission.

Available from:
Curriculum Corporation
Tel: (03) 9207 9600
Fax: (03) 9639 1616
Email: [email protected]

The Information literate School Community: Best Practice
Editors: James Henri and Karen Bonanno
Publisher: Centre for Information Studies (CSU), 1999
RRP: $45.00 plus $5.00 postage and packaging per order
Available from:
Charles Sturt University
Locked Bag 660
Wagga Wagga 2678
Email: [email protected]
ISBN: 0949060879
SCIS order number: 97 4687

Edited by James Henri and Karen Bonanno and featuring contributions from leading academics, researchers and practitioners this expansive work contains twenty chapters dealing with the information literate school community. Aimed at the full range of education professionals keen to define, understand, develop and implement information literacy and the notion of the information literate school community, the collection includes case studies, research and information pertaining to principals, professional associations, teachers and Teacher Librarians. The range of issues found in this timely work need to be read, digested, interpreted and implemented by all groups with a stake in the education of students today.

Reviewed by Nigel Paull, Editor, Connections.

Hanson, K, 'Literacy, IT and self mastery' in Access, 23, 13 (3) 1999, pp 15-17
In this encompassing article Hanson outlines the importance for teachers and Teacher Librarians of being information and technology literate. The ramifications and equity issues for students that don't attend schools with technology literate staff are discussed. The article also outlines: the key role played by Teacher Librarians in information technology (IT); the goals that learners should attain to become IT literate; changes to teaching and learning methodologies to implement a curriculum underpinned by IT; and a series of key recommendations for best practice.

Reviewed by Nigel Paull, Editor, Connections

Miller, M. J., 'Create a great website' in PC Magazine Australia, August 1999, pp 56-98
Although aimed primarily at creating business websites, the information contained in this extensive article is also applicable to schools wanting to produce dynamic websites using the latest software and techniques. The three major components of creating a great website are investigated, namely those of design, construction and the choice of operating system and web server. The latest software for building and managing innovative and engaging web-based applications is comprehensively evaluated.

Reviewed by Nigel Paull, Editor, Connections

Morrison, A, 'Student Internet use and Web page creation: Elanora Heights Primary School library home page ... two years on' in Scan, 18 (3), May 1999, pp 27-30
Two years ago this school library created its own web page within the school's website. The author shares the benefits of two years of experience and details the enhancements, new processes and altered priorities that have occurred. The web pages demonstrate the Teacher Librarian's commitment to developing the information skills of students, being an advocate of change and being at the forefront of recent developments in technology and their application to the teaching and learning process. Classes at the school are now authoring their own web pages and students have been taught to insert graphics, tables, text and animation.

Reviewed by Nigel Paull, Editor, Connections

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