The Ken Watson Address is delivered annually at the major conference of the English Teachers’ Association NSW to honour Ken’s contribution to the teaching of English in this state and across the world.
Ken’s work in curriculum development in NSW was extensive and significant. He was a long-time member of the NSW 7-10 English Syllabus Committee that created the syllabus which had a life that ran from 1987 to 2002. He was also a member of the Years 11-12 Syllabus Committee during much of that time. He has, of course, written comprehensively and in depth on English teaching, with the English Teaching in Perspective series being best known because of its wide use in Faculties of Education preparing teachers of English.
Ken Watson took Australia into the international family of English education that founded and bedded down what was then known as ‘the new English’. His great passion in the 70s was Young Adult literature and Ken led the charge in legitimising its place in school education. In his later years at the University of Sydney and in retirement that passion was turned on Shakespeare and manifested itself in the wonderful – and, again, pioneering – work of the St Clair Shakespeare Workshop series.
Ken has always treated students, former students, teachers and novice academics with a rare spirit of collegiality, inclusion and friendship and those of us fortunate enough to work with and for him remain continually grateful. For these reasons, it is fitting that the English Teachers Association NSW honour Ken by giving his name to the key address in their annual conference. This year we are delighted that the Ken Watson Address will be delivered by Dr Marcello Giovanelli from Aston University, Birmingham, UK.