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Rethinking subject English for the knowledge age

Sue McDowall

Future-oriented theorists argue that if we want students to be future builders, we need to provide them with opportunities to do things with existing knowledge, rather than just reproduce it. In this article I consider the implications of this argument for English. I describe some theory-driven learning opportunities that may enable students to build knowledge, and I provide some research examples from classrooms of what each opportunity might look like for English. I suggest that exploring how to support knowledge building within existing learning areas, such as English, is one way of taking a “first step” towards a future-oriented curriculum, in which we attempt to bring the different learning areas together more purposefully.

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