Site Search:
 
TEFL International Supports Dave's ESL Cafe
TEFL Courses, TESOL Course, English Teaching Jobs - TEFL International
Job Discussion Forums Forum Index Job Discussion Forums
"The Internet's Meeting Place for ESL/EFL Students and Teachers from Around the World!"
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

UK curriculum to exclude US authors
Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Current Events Forum
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3844
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 6:05 pm    Post subject: UK curriculum to exclude US authors Reply with quote

UK education revamp leaves US authors on the shelf
By Jill Lawless, Associated Press | 30 May 2014
Source: http://news.yahoo.com/uk-education-revamp-leaves-us-authors-shelf-131401827.html

LONDON (AP) — Britain's education minister says he has not killed a mockingbird, but many literature-lovers don't believe him.

Michael Gove has outraged some readers and academics with his campaign to put the basics — and Britishness — back into schools. Longtime American favorites including John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men" and Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird" are off the syllabus for a major high school English qualification under new guidelines that focus almost exclusively on writers from Britain and Ireland.

Some educators fear that could lead to the narrowing of British minds. "The idea of cutting out American books because they are not British is crazy," said John Carey, a literary critic and emeritus professor at Oxford University.

Exam boards in England and Wales — which set school syllabuses in line with government rules — on Friday finished releasing their new book lists for the English Literature GCSE, an exam taken by 16-year-olds after a two-year course of study.

Gone are Lee, Steinbeck, Arthur Miller's play "The Crucible" and the autobiography of Maya Angelou, who died this week. Gone, too, are African and Asian writers including Haruki Murakami, Chinua Achebe and Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche. The purge of Americans and others is the product — though not, the government says, the goal — of an attempt to make the school curriculum more rigorous. New government rules say GCSE pupils must study "high quality, intellectually challenging, and substantial" works, including a 19th-century novel, a selection of poetry, a play by William Shakespeare and post-1914 fiction or drama "from the British Isles." (Previous rules mentioned "contemporary writers" without reference to nationality). A requirement to study authors from different cultures has been dropped.

Gove strongly denied that his goal was to banish non-British authors. "I have not banned anything," he wrote in the Daily Telegraph. "All we are doing is asking exam boards to broaden — not narrow — the books young people study for GCSE." The education department says the guidelines represent the minimum students are required to learn, and that those who read more widely — and internationally — will do better on the exams. It also says pupils are required to study "seminal world literature" — including American classics — between the ages of 11 and 14.

Critics of the new English rules say they will have a restrictive, rather than broadening, effect. "Michael Gove wants everybody studying traditional literature, and he wants it to be British," said Bethan Marshall, chair of the National Association for the Teaching of English. "I think that's a bit of a mistake."

This is not the first time Gove, who has been education secretary in Britain's Conservative-led government since 2010, has faced strong opposition to his plans. His overhaul of primary education was called "neo-Victorian" by a Cambridge University professor, and his proposal to make history lessons more British in focus was condemned by many academics. Some educators welcomed Gove's attempts to raise standards. Jonathan Bate, an English professor at Oxford who advised on the latest curriculum changes, said he had been discouraged to discover that many pupils studied no British novels for their GCSE course. "I think there are so many riches in the last century's literature in these islands that all pupils should have some acquaintance with it," Bate said.

The new book lists include a wide sample of modern British literature and drama, from George Orwell's "Animal Farm" and William Golding's "Lord of the Flies" to Kazuo Ishiguro's" novel "Never Let Me Go," Alan Bennett's play "The History Boys" and "Anita and Me," a coming-of-age novel by comedian and author Meera Syal. The 19th-century novels on offer include Dickens' "Great Expectations," Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" and Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein."

But debate on the changes has focused on the loss of "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Of Mice and Men," which several generations of Britons remember — mostly fondly — from their schooldays. Few commentators had anything negative to say about Lee's beloved tale of a girl learning about racism and justice in the American South. Outraged fans of the book even got the hashtag "Mockingbird" trending on Twitter after Gove's changes were announced.

Steinbeck's novella about the friendship between two migrant workers during the Great Depression proved more divisive. Times newspaper columnist Janice Turner welcomed the removal of Steinbeck's book, which she said was studied for all the wrong reasons — "because it is short, simple and has a didactic 'message': bullying is bad."

Carey said he sympathized with Gove's efforts to get students reading literary classics, but regretted the loss of the two American books. "It's true ... 'Of Mice and Men' is set just because it's short, but it is nonetheless a marvelous book for teaching," Carey said. "It's a wonderful book, deeply human. I think the same about 'To Kill a Mockingbird' — a book that can transform the way you think."

(End of article)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Shroob



Joined: 02 Aug 2010
Posts: 1334

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good read's a good read... does it matter where it was written?
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 9053
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just out of vague curiosity, how many British, Irish, Australian, or New Zealander writers are on high school courses in the US? I'd imagine there'd be a heavier emphasis on homegrown literature, wouldn't there?

Not too much wrong with that in many ways...
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Rostom



Joined: 16 Apr 2014
Posts: 102
Location: UK/Veteran of the Magic Kingdom

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 9:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The good news is that Michael Gove is Scottish and George Orwell is British! Laughing
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
sparks



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 501

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 10:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Generally, Animal Farm and 1984 figure heavily into American highschool English courses, at least when I was there.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
sparks



Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 501

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, Lord of the Flies as well, I don't think you can escape the Am. school system without reading it. Well, actually, nowadays you probably can.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3844
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Fri May 30, 2014 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sashadroogie wrote:
Just out of vague curiosity, how many British, Irish, Australian, or New Zealander writers are on high school courses in the US? I'd imagine there'd be a heavier emphasis on homegrown literature, wouldn't there?

Many US schools are teaching world literature, which covers authors from throughout the world.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
btsmrtfan



Joined: 01 Jul 2010
Posts: 74
Location: GPS Not Working

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is but another example of a manifest inferiority complex resulting in a stupid decision.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
HLJHLJ



Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 876

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stupid idea, implemented for stupid reasons.

But... I'll be glad to see 'Of Mice and Men' off the syllabus. Not that it's not a good novel but it was done to death decades ago and yet they are still flogging it. It's only remained popular because it's short, and that surely shouldn't be the prime concern in an English literature qualification.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
damn_my_eyes



Joined: 13 Jul 2013
Posts: 93

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed that it is a stupid idea but the trouble with a lot of the books in the curriculum is that they bore your average teenager to tears, regardless of where the author was born.

I'm sure a lot of people have been put off reading by being forced to plough through the likes of Sense and Sensibility or a Tale of Two Cities at school.
Seems a shame when there's so much engaging contemporary and classic literature from around the world to go at.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
wonderingjoesmith



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 910
Location: Guangzhou

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nomad soul wrote:
Sashadroogie wrote:
Just out of vague curiosity, how many British, Irish, Australian, or New Zealander writers are on high school courses in the US? I'd imagine there'd be a heavier emphasis on homegrown literature, wouldn't there?

Many US schools are teaching world literature, which covers authors from throughout the world.
I'd love to see stats on this.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
nomad soul



Joined: 31 Jan 2010
Posts: 3844
Location: Terra firma

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wonderingjoesmith wrote:
nomad soul wrote:
Many US schools are teaching world literature, which covers authors from throughout the world.

I'd love to see stats on this.

Start by simply entering world literature curriculum on Google.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Javelin of Radiance



Joined: 01 Jul 2009
Posts: 1187
Location: The West

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sparks wrote:
Oh, Lord of the Flies as well, I don't think you can escape the Am. school system without reading it. Well, actually, nowadays you probably can.

Sure can. Schools have probably substituted Season 4 Episode 1 of the Simpsons, Kamp Krusty, in place of the novel.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12359
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear HLJHLJ,

"Not that it's not a good novel but it was done to death decades ago and yet they are still flogging it."

I'm a bit puzzled how it could be "done to death" for students who almost certainly have never heard of it.

Regards,
John
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Dedicated



Joined: 18 May 2007
Posts: 720
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 9:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gove's critics need to get their facts straight before casting him as a bogeyman.

In fact To Kill a Mocking Bird and Of Mice and Men have not been "banned". The new GCSE syllabus from September 2014 allows pupils to roam more widely, not stipulating books they must study as part of the GCSE course.
The reason for the misunderstanding is because the GCSE texts have to include one Shakespeare play, some Romantic poetry, a 19th century novel and some fiction or drama written in the British Isles since 1918.

Beyond this, they can immerse themselves in any literary work.

Either Gove has made English Literature an optional extra or he is insisting that all pupils study William Wordsworth and Charles Dickens in preference to Harper Lee or John Steinbeck. But he can't logically do both.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/may/27/michael-gove[/url]
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Job Discussion Forums Forum Index -> Current Events Forum All times are GMT
Goto page 1, 2, 3  Next
Page 1 of 3

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


This page is maintained by the one and only Dave Sperling.
Contact Dave's ESL Cafe
Copyright © 2011 Dave Sperling. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group

Road2Spain - TEFL and Spanish with one year student visa
EBC