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Desperate Shadows of 'Belonging'

Updated: Feb 28, 2019

This 2015 publication featured in The Australian Educational Researcher was shortlisted for Paper of the Year by the Journal. It was a publication that highlighted issues with the Higher School Certificate (HSC) compulsory section of the New South Wales (Australia) curriculum.

Impacting Research

Shortly after the publication of this paper the Board of Studies NSW announced they will be terminating the Area of Study for the HSC, citing similar arguments put forward in this paper.


As New South Wales (NSW) bids farewell to the 2009–2014 Area of Study concept ‘Belonging’, this article summarises some critical reflections from English teachers on the main pedagogical issues encountered when using prescribed texts to teach ‘Belonging’ to both the Standard and Advanced English courses in contemporary classrooms. These reflections are convened under three areas for further consideration, which includes an analysis of the Area of Study (NSW Board of Studies English Stage 6 Syllabus), an examination of the prescribed texts listed, and the main challenges teachers have identified with using both the NSW English Stage 6 Syllabus and set prescribed texts to engage contemporary students. The discussions raised in this article can be considered by NSW educators when selecting texts and designing units of work for teaching the new 2015–2020 Area of Study concept ‘Discovery’.


Jogie, M.R., (2015). Desperate Shadows of Belonging: Revealing pedagogical issues with teaching prescribed English texts in the NSW Higher School Certificate (HSC), The Australian Educational Researcher, 42 (3), pp. 335-352

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