Marcello Giovanelli & Jessica Mason

Why you should ditch the canon

Placing too much emphasis on teacher knowledge fails to recognise the importance of the understanding each student brings to the act of learning, argue Marcello Giovanelli and Jessica Mason

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Literary texts are relatively static objects. Regardless of which shelf in the world they’re on, versions of the same work will tend to contain the same words in the same order. Of course, there are some minor differences – alternative covers, new editions, introductions and so on – but, in a broad sense, the fact rings true for all texts, whether they are by William Shakespeare, John Green, Charles Dickens or JK Rowling.

Readings, however, are not static, because reading involves not just the text but also the reader, and readers are different from one another. Readers bring different ...

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