Obituary - Angela Wilson 1942-2011

27th January 2012 at 00:00

Angela Wilson's best-known book, Language Knowledge for Primary Teachers, was the culmination of a long and distinguished educational career. Combining her love of teaching and of the English language, it has helped thousands of student teachers to prepare for a career in the classroom.

Born Angela Stones in Lancashire in 1942, she read English literature at Westfield College in London before training to become a teacher. English was a passion from the outset.

Her career began as an English teacher in secondary schools including Chislehurst and Sidcup County Grammar School for Girls and Craybourne School in Kent, where she was head of department.

She later became a lecturer in education at Bretton Hall College in West Yorkshire, before moving to the North East Wales Institute of Higher Education in Wrexham (now Glyndwr University). It was here that she became involved with the work she would become most associated with: helping students to prepare for primary school teaching.

Mrs Wilson was, according to long-term friend and former neighbour Margaret Mallett, "passionate" about teaching and a fervent advocate of the importance of teaching English in particular. "She believed in structure, discipline, routines and hard work when it came to learning, but she was also keen on creativity and helping children find their voice in speaking and writing," Ms Mallett said. "As a lecturer, she had an ability to inspire young teachers and to make difficult things accessible."

Encouraged to share her experiences and enthusiasm with a wider audience, Mrs Wilson wrote a series of instructional books described as "scholarly and practical, but with a welcome touch of humour", all of which were successful.

But she became known to a whole generation of trainees for Language Knowledge for Primary Teachers, co-authored with Julie Scanlon and now in its fourth edition. Described as a "must read" by many, the 1999 book argues that speaking and writing are of equal importance to the young learner and that teachers should recognise that the roots of language lie in the everyday speech of our homes and communities.

Mrs Wilson married her husband Andrew 30 years ago and, although she had no children of her own, she was close to his two children and his two grandchildren.

Outside the classroom, she was a keen gardener. With Andrew, she created a colourful garden at their home in Penley, near Wrexham, which was open to the public for charity through the National Gardens Scheme.

The couple also enjoyed travelling to far-flung places such as Russia and the Far East. Six years ago, they taught English at a university in China for three months.

Angela Wilson retired eight years ago. After a short illness, she died on 22 December at the age of 69.

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