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Prince takes novel line for teachers

The booker Prize-winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro and other famous authors and actors will speak to English teachers this year at the request of Prince Charles.

Mr Ishiguro, whose novels include The Remains of the Day, is due to talk to 16 teachers today at the historic Hylands House in Chelmsford, Essex. The talk has been arranged by The Prince's Teaching Institute, a charity that supports teachers' development.

It has also arranged speeches by the novelist Sebastian Faulks and the actors Terry Jones and Juliet Stevenson, who will speak on Chaucer and Shakespeare.

Mr Ishiguro plans to talk about how pupils can analyse texts and the relationship between literary criticism and creative writing. The Japanese-born author, who was educated at a grammar school for boys in Surrey, hopes the speech will help teachers develop their A-level pupils' confidence.

"A lot of people who are teaching creative writing are not practitioners," Mr Ishiguro told The TES.

"In art, music, or sports, you have practitioners as teachers. That gives you an instinctive understanding. It should be the same in teaching.

"They don't have to be Booker Prize winners or even have to be published. But they should have tried writing themselves."

He won the 1989 Booker Prize for The Remains of the Day, the story of an elderly English butler recalling a life spent in service, set against the backdrop of the Second World War. It was made into an award-winning film starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson.

Mr Ishiguro's talk for The Prince's Teaching Institute is not his first brush with the Prince of Wales: he began his working life as a beater on grouse shoots at Balmoral.

Chris Pope, co-director of The Prince's Teaching Institute, said it had grown out of the Prince's summer schools, which were attended by more than 500 English and history teachers. He said the institute works with Cambridge University to allow teachers to pick the brains of specialists. Prince Charles said English and history teachers had a special duty to help children develop into adults full of knowledge and insight.

"I can only hope that more teachers will benefit from this attempt to recapture some of the precious elements which have underpinned good teaching for so long," he said.

- www.princes-ti.org.uk.

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