Looking before and after

Photo of John Dixon by John Hodgson

Borrowing Hamlet’s phrase, the autumn issue of English in Education looks both before and after current concerns in English teaching. We begin with an interview with John Dixon, author of Growth through English, one of the founding texts of modern English studies. John reflects on the seminal Dartmouth conference of 1966 and conveys his continuing encouragement to teachers to think through the “serious game” of education in ways that are both playful and exciting.

Chloe Marsh’s paper takes us back to the future. Her small-scale study reports on the responses of English teachers faced with teaching poetry for terminal ”closed book” examinations for the first time since the introduction of the UK national curriculum in 1988.

Yvonne and Duncan Williams similarly report on assessment procedures for A level English. Their wide-ranging account examines several aspects of the examining process in order to ask: how accurate can marking of A-level English Literature be?

The other contributions to this issue ask us to look towards the students in everyday classrooms. Jo Carrington’s poem “Who chooseth me shall have what he deserves” dramatises the reciprocal sense of failure of a teacher and student engaged in preparing for high-stakes testing. Rachel Gilmour’s “Reading/Writing Multilingualism” takes us into contemporary “multilingual” urban classrooms in which speakers often have highly diverse language repertoires. Audrey Wood’s paper on pre-twentieth century literature in the year 9 classroom also reports on a project to help her students make a live connection between their language and experience and their year 9 literary texts.

Next year, English in Education will have a new publisher. The redesigned journal will be launched at the conference of NATE (UK) and the International Federation for the Teaching of English, which will be held on 21-24 June at Aston University, Birmingham, UK. The first issue of the new volume will be a special edition on Reader Response and English Education, edited by Marcello Giovanelli and Jessica Mason. We conclude the current volume with a Call for Papers for the 2019 special edition on Writing, to be edited by Jeni Smith and Mari Cruice.

English in Education is available in print and on-line to members of NATE.  To join NATE, follow links on the right hand side of this page. 

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