Unhelpful view of literary study

23rd December 2005 at 00:00
What's this? Another article about English teaching ("Reading ruined by classroom dissection", TES, December 16) written by "a writer". And as us English teachers know, "a writer" is a euphemism for "must have some insight into teaching English not open to any other human being - let alone any English teacher!" As an English teacher myself, I feel blessed.

So, let's see what Ms Pandit has to say: studying English literature puts you off reading. Her evidence? Her daughter, who is obviously your fairly run-of-the-mill, average kind of girl who sits down with the entire works of Jane Austen whilst studying (presumably) four other A-levels. I know many more like her.

While this is hardly grounds for axing English literature from the curriculum, it is also hardly groundbreakingly original insight. I would imagine there are thousands of students since time began who never want to reread some of the texts they studied at school. Yet, those thousands of students have probably been turned on to read other things because of what they were studying. We all know there is a difference between bedtime reading and classroom study.

Indeed, my feeling is that the article told me nothing about the English curriculum at all but was merely a celebration of Ms Pandit's parenting skills. Well done, Ms Pandit. You're well ahead of the rest of us!

I don't know who I'm irritated by more: the "writer" for being so obviously not a "writer" or T`he TES for publishing such nonsense in such a prominent place. By the way, Maya Angelou is a GCSE set text. Is this a bad thing?

Nick Patterson Littlebury Saffron Walden

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now