English: a Frankenstein subject?

Clio et cetera


In my last blog postI argued that the dominance of ‘English’ as a subject on the secondary school curriculum should be challenged. I want to elaborate in this post a little further as to why I think this is the case.

In short, it comes down to the fact that I think English has something of an identity crisis. What is it? What is it for? In other school subjects it is much easier to have an identity: chemists teach chemistry, historians teach history, mathematicians teach mathematics. But what do you call someone who teaches English?

I would suggest that English, as a subject, might be understood as an amalgam of the following:

  • (1) Learning the English language, particularly in terms of grammar and syntax.

This is perhaps what is normally called functional literacy. It is a major focus in primary education (and rightly so, I think). I…

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