Publish your work in English in Education

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Following the last post, here is more information about English in Education journal and how to write for it.  English in Education provides a research forum for the subject community to explore the philosophy and practice of English teaching.   The journal complements the Association’s professional journal Teaching English and supports NATE’s work in sharing and advocating good practice at all levels from early years to higher education.  We want as many people as possible to get involved so the whole community is represented: teachers, learners, researchers, consultants and everyone who wants to support and improve English education.   Please see the journal’s Aims & Scope for more information.

English in Education accepts research papers, review articles and creative writing (usually poems) related to the teaching of English.  We occasionally publish extended articles to explore complex matters in more depth.  One or more issues per year is devoted to a current or emerging aspect of English education that requires special attention.   Once your paper has been assessed for suitability by the editor, it will be double blind peer reviewed by independent, anonymous expert referees.

Guidance for Authors

Please follow the following guidance as closely as possible, to ensure your paper matches the journal’s requirements. For general guidance on the publication process at Taylor & Francis please visit the Author Services website.   For fuller, detailed guidance on all aspects of publishing in the journal, please see Instructions for Authors.

Preparing your Paper

Research papers should normally be between 4000 and 6000 words, including the abstract (approx. 200 words), tables, references and captions.  Please use the Chicago Author-Date system of referencing and keep endnotes to a minimum.   An EndNote output style is also available to assist you. You should include between 3 and 6 keywords to help make your article more discoverable

Extended papers should be as above but may contain between 7000 and 15000 words.

Review articles will usually be between 600 and 2000 words, but there is flexibility here to allow for longer treatment of particularly significant books or topics.

Poems will normally be up to 40 lines in length, but again some flexibility is allowed.

Style Guidelines

Please refer to these quick style guidelines when preparing your paper.  Use British (-ise) spelling style and double quotation marks, except where “a quotation is ‘within’ a quotation”.  Long quotations should be indented without quotation marks.

Formatting and templates

Papers may be submitted in Word format. Figures should be saved separately from the text. To assist you in preparing your paper, we provide Word formatting templates.

Submitting Your Paper

This journal uses ScholarOne Manuscripts to manage the peer-review process. If you haven’t submitted a paper to this journal before, you will need to create an account in ScholarOne. Please read the guidelines above and then submit your paper in the relevant Author Centre, where you will find user guides and a helpdesk.

Please note that English in Education uses Crossref™ to screen papers for unoriginal material. By submitting your paper to English in Education you are agreeing to originality checks during the peer-review and production processes.

On acceptance, we recommend that you keep a copy of your Accepted Manuscript. Find out more about sharing your work.

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Writing for English in Education

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John Hodgson (Editor) and Catherine Phipps (Publication Manager) at the journal relaunch

More than 40 international teachers and researchers attended the relaunch of English in Education under its new publisher at the June NATE/IFTE conference in Birmingham.  The relaunched journal will be a hub of quality research, opinion and creative writing by and for the whole English subject community.  It will appear four times a year from 2020: this will allow us to produce more special issues on topical and emerging concerns.   The Editorial Board feel that such matters as the nature of subject English, English and multilingualism, and social media and English education are among current issues that demand attention.  We welcome your suggestions for other topics and your contributions: the autumn issue will include Calls for Papers for Autumn 2019, Newbolt and the Construction of Subject English, and Spring 2020, Multilingualism and English Education.

The Spring 2019 issue on Writing, edited by Jeni Smith and Mari Cruice, is in preparation.  It will present research into the practice and teaching of writing and demonstrate the creativity that is released amongst both teachers and students when writing is nurtured in the classroom to augment personal and social meaning, and indeed pleasure.   The initiative of the previous editor, Sue Dymoke, who instituted a regular “place for poetry”, established a deep connection in the journal between creativity and English education; this forthcoming special issue, edited by members of NATE’s UK National Writing Project, will develop this connection in exciting ways.

Recent debate on Twitter has suggested that the journal’s academic style and long lead-in times are unwelcoming.  We make no apology for insisting on quality reflection and research, but writing for the journal need not involve a long academic haul of interminable peer reviews.   The Editor is happy to discuss your proposed paper before submission, and to comment on a draft if that is helpful.  Formal submission can be made via the EIE website at https://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/eie.  You will be invited to create an account if you don’t already have one.  If you are submitting a research paper, this should normally comprise between 4000 and 6000 words including references, although this requirement is flexible to allow for differing topics and approaches.  Please add an abstract of about 150 words; figures, illustrations and other visual material are welcome.

The forthcoming issue (Autumn 2018) is distinct in both the range and the quality of its research.   Ann Harris and Marie Helks offer a critical consideration of the debates in England and Wales around grammar and grammatical terminology.   Mary Juswik and her colleagues use student essays to compare different approaches to argumentative writing, revealing the possibilities and benefits of engaging students in a broader social conversation.  Todd Reynolds and Bethany Townsend examine transcripts of whole class discussions led by English teachers with differing views of the teacher role in such discussions.  Yvette Murdoch and Alin Kang examine the connections between teachers’ learning and use of students’ names and student experience and outcomes within the English as a Medium of Instruction classroom.  Poetry is not forgotten: Ian McEwen’s Poetry is Not for Kids makes a spirited riposte to the UK Secretary of State for Education’s withdrawal of the A-level (senior secondary) qualification in Creative Writing:

            Poetry is not for kids.

They might decide to write it!

– while Stewart Manley, a lecturer in Trust Law, shows that students’ and teachers’ “home-made poetry” can aid learning of other disciplines and increase authenticity in the classroom.

Books reviewed in this issue include Melanie Shoffner’s exploration of the representation of teachers in fiction and film, appraised by Ann Harris, and two edited collections on the teaching of literature that, in the words of Victoria Elliott, posit English as a conversation between students, texts and teachers – albeit not an unproblematic conversation, given its current social and political contexts.

Your response to our plans for the journal is welcome, as are ideas and contributions for future issues.   Please contact me at the address below.

John Hodgson (Editor)

john.hodgson@uwe.ac.uk

Summer issue of English in Education

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Jo Carrington’s poem ‘Let the learning begin’ strikes the keynote for the summer issue of English in Education.   The poem parodies the insistent interventions of a teacher who tries to improve a student’s performance as a writer of poetry. The student is desperate to speak their voice against the directed ‘improvements’ that will gain marks. The emphasis is on instruction rather than dialogue.

Performativity is the zeitgeist. Owing to the assessment imperative that overhangs virtually all teaching and learning acts, the contemporary classroom has become a crucible of performativity.   This educational paradigm differs fundamentally from that of fifty years ago, as recorded in the early issues of the journal.  Simon Gibbons’ English and its Teachers, reviewed in this issue by Sue Dymoke, charts the history of English teaching over the last half-century.

Valerie Coultas reflects on those pioneering days and their assertion of the importance of classroom talk and of the ‘power of the personal’ in teaching English. She demonstrates ways in which learners’ experience and expression have been valued for themselves as well as for their value as preparation for literary and academic writing.

Furzeen Ahmed’s linguistic ethnographic study shows how students in an ethnically diverse East Midlands (UK) school used classroom talk and short story writing to interpret a literary text (Romeo and Juliet) that came from what was for many a different cultural and temporal space.

Linda Enow and Andy Goodwyn’s paper confronts the difficulty of analysing the expertise of the English teacher. What appears as the spontaneous performance of the expert teacher depends on a long and continuous process of reflective development that can be understood and used to share and develop expertise.

Clare Chambers considers the teaching of ‘comprehension’ and ‘knowledge of the world’. Learning about the world, she argues, is a social process, and teachers could develop learning opportunities from children’s everyday literacies, reframing ‘comprehension’ to connect their students with multiple texts and diverse forms of knowledge.

Rebecca Lefroy took year seven (aged 11-12) students to an art museum in order to develop their understanding of symbolism, narrative perspective and style.  They enjoyed the opportunity to develop their interpretations: in the words of one, ‘We weren’t just told things like in the classroom’.

Gail Loane’s Developing Young Writers in the Classroom: I’ve got something to say argues that the writing of non-fiction, principally the personal and the immediate, is the foundation for all writing.  Jeni Smith’s review suggests how children can develop as writers beyond the performativity of the classroom.

Members of NATE can access the English in Education website and receive printed copies of the journal.   For more information and to join NATE, see links to the right.

 

What is ‘reading’? Why do we read? How do we read?

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I’ve always been fascinated by the process of reading and interpetation.   Why do we choose certain ‘texts’, be these printed, on screen, verbal, visual or in some other mode?     How do we make sense of the words on the page, the pixels on the screen, the signifiers of the environment?   After teaching in a large rural school for a number of years, I embarked on a study of the reading and media practices of the students in my tutor group (home class) as they moved from early secondary to later secondary years and took their GCSE (age 16) examinations.   I was interested in their everyday practices rarher than merely in what they read in and for school.   The work, Grounded Literacy, took me nine years and I learned a lot from doing it: not only about the youngsters I had taught, but also, of course, about reader response theory, object relations theory and reception theory within cultural and media studies, a combination of approaches which formed the epistemological basis of my work.

 

I’m thinking about these issues again, partly because Reader Response and English Education is the theme of the 2018 special issue of English in Education, to be edited by Marcello Giovanelli and Jessica Mason.  I was also struck by a recent blog post by kirstwrites, Three books which got me thinking.   She writes:

I don’t read as much as I should (unless scrolling through Twitter counts?) so it has been a real pleasure to spend the last week staying in a house with a well stocked bookcase and a wood burning stove. After days spent on family walks kicking through autumn leaves, settling down for an evening’s reading in front of the fire has been pure bliss.

I’ve managed to polish off three books in the space of a week (what? I’m an English graduate, reading fast is my only skill) and I want to try and write some kind of review of them. On the surface, they are all totally disconnected. But by the time I’d read all three I was sensing a thread of connection between them all, and it’s this connection that I want to tease out.

She goes on to explain how she found connected meaning in three apparently unrelated books: David Temple’s Above and Below the Limestone: the pits and people of Easington District, an account of how the coal mining industry developed and declined over two centuries in County Durham; Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451; and Bruce Springsteen’s newly released autobiography Born to Run.  As I commented, I’m sure that Bradbury would have approved the way her post demonstrates the power of “ordinary” books to help us think.

Renewing acquaintance with James Britton

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Last Saturday, the London Association for the Teaching of English ran a day conference at the Institute of Education on the work and legacy of James Britton.    Some of the large gathering had known and worked with Britton; others had had only recently completed training in the institution where his ideas had influenced the practice of generations of English teachers. Others, myself included, had less direct knowledge of the man and the institution.

In the keynote session of the conference, Tony Burgess reflected on Britton’s life and ideas, while Myra Barrs explained how Britton had influenced her work as a teacher and adviser. Britton had been the forming hand behind both LATE and NATE, and the ‘shuttle’ between classroom and theory that he practised remains a key principle. He accepted the intrinsic interest and importance of children’s language, and the quotations from children that feature so frequently in Britton’s work are not just illustrations of his thinking but part of the thinking. His ideas have had a profound effect on educational theory and practice – in Canada as much as in the UK – and are still influential despite the current regime of reaction and quantification

Britton believed that understanding the relationship between language and thought was key to understanding how children gain language fluency. In chapter 2 of Language and Learning (1970), he used the work of Luria and Vygotsky, then little known in the UK, to examine the development of thought and language. He saw language as a means of building up a representation of the world. An inward running commentary on experience that operates alongside social speech becomes internal speech: a retrospect that enables a prospect. Speech thus precedes writing, and children’s written language develops from and alongside their talking.

Priorities for the classroom follow this view of language. Britton insisted that language in the classroom should be used for real purposes, one of the most important of which is listening. Myra Barrs recalled that Britton had been a modest speaker and active listener: his colleagues remarked on his intent yet warm attention on the speaker and his encouraging: “Go on.”

Britton developed the concept of the Participant and Spectator roles of language: the speaker/thinker acts on the world by means of the representation and acts on the representation itself. From this point of view, literature does not occupy a different realm from other language; expressive and poetic writing and reading are natural functions of the spectator role. The concept of the spectator role thus brings literature into touch with processes in the everyday life of young people.

As Viv Ellis has written, Britton was ‘the exemplary academic educationist: once a teacher, always fully engaged with the work of school teaching and motivated by educational questions; hugely supportive of the profession developing its own leadership (through subject associations, for example); … Britton shows the way you might, as someone who works in a university Education department, do good work in every sense’.   In the final session of the conference, Simon Clements and Douglas Barnes, both of whom had worked with James Britton, spoke. According to Douglas Barnes, one learned from Britton how to be a person as well as a teacher. Could there be a better account of the legacy of a seminal figure in the study of language and the teaching of English?

 

This post is taken from an article to be published in Teaching English

Integrating English Language and Literature

Folger_1A linguist deaf to the poetic functions of language and a literary scholar indifferent to linguistics are equally flagrant anachronisms.        Roman Jakobson (1960)

by Marcello Giovanelli

Despite the fact that these words were spoken over fifty years ago, it is curious that ‘English Language’ and ‘English Literature’ are largely still viewed as discrete subjects.  Even when they are studied together, they seem to be part of a combined course, part ‘lit’ and part ‘lang’, rather than a fully integrated one. Whilst the growth of A level English Language over the last twenty years, with its emphasis on providing students with a practical and rigorous toolkit for a systematic analysis of texts,  points towards the value of language-based textual work, all too often responses in literary studies ignore the essence of literature itself: language.  Instead, the direction and focus are geared towards biography, historical context, and fantastical speculation about what authors might or might not have thought, felt and said. The worst kind of criticism is either rooted in vague impressionistic language or else relies on verbose rhetoric. For students this can have the unfortunate consequence that ‘Literature’ becomes difficult to access without resorting to impressionism of their own or else relying on what critics or teachers say that texts ‘mean’. The literary text remains somehow ‘special’, and uniquely creative in comparison to mundane ‘everyday language’.

An integrated approach: stylistics
An integrated approach to studying literature gives priority to language, encourages close reading, helps to avoid superficial, impressionistic comments, and is inherently democratic in that with practice everyone can develop skills and respond to literary texts in meaningful ways. In higher education, the explicit application of linguistic knowledge and models in the service of literary criticism is known as stylistics (see Simpson 2004 for an overview).  Its principles of being clear, transparent and focused on how particular language choices give rise to particular effects are extremely useful as a working model for students of all ages. As an example, look at the first line of Siegfried Sassoon’s ‘A working party’, published in 1917.

Three hours ago he blundered up the trench

There’s plenty of subtle and sophisticated work that students can do with this line simply by asking questions about language, as a way of developing their skills at literary criticism. Here are four such questions.

[1] The poem begins with the adverbial ‘three hours ago’, placed at the front of the clause. This emphasises a time shift – the narrated events at the start of the poem happen three hours before the recounting time of the poem. Why is this important? What would be the effect if this were at the end of the clause?
[2] The soldier is referred to using the third person pronoun ‘he’. Why not use a proper noun or an extended noun phrase such as ‘the young/old/tired soldier’? The use of the pronoun reduces the referent (the soldier) to the smallest, depersonalised lexical unit. However, ‘he’ (and other such pronouns) tends to be used when readers are able to access the intended referent without any difficulty: i.e. they know who ‘he’ is. When they can’t, we tend to use more specific terms such as common and proper nouns.  So here, we have the paradox of an expression that both depersonalises and emphasises closeness. Why?
[3] ‘blundered’ suggests movement but of an awkward kind; ‘up’ is a preposition that suggests a certain kind of orientation (vertical rather than horizontal). Why not ‘along the trench’? How does this preposition fit with the meaning of ‘blundered’?
[4] Sassoon uses ‘the trench’ rather than ‘a trench’. As with ‘he’, ‘the’ tends to be used when the addressee/listener knows the referent or is in its vicinity. So overall what is the significance of the use of the definite article? Would it matter if it were ‘a trench’?

These questions promote thinking about how key aspects of style are important in the act of literary interpretation. Indeed, the fact that these features are significant is in itself a type of emphatic patterning known as foregrounding. The act of interpretation also provides a motivation for teaching linguistic models and ideas in their own right. The examples above offer ways in to enquiry and learning about syntax, the pronoun system, semantics, prepositions and the motivation for using definite or indefinite articles. They involve students exploring language features, asking questions about prominent patterns and choices, and considering the likely effect of alternative ones (for a detailed exploration of the benefits of textual
intervention see Pope 1995; and also Madden 2006, and Queneau 2009).

Creativity in non-literary texts
Very briefly, I’d like to show how an integrated approach also provides novel ways of looking at non-literary texts. A fully integrated ‘English’ denies sole privilege to literary discourse, and sees an inherent value and creativity in everyday language (for detailed discussion of this idea see Carter 2004). An interesting example for students would be to look a phenomenon such as metaphor that might be thought of simply as a literary trope, and explore its pervasiveness and importance in non-literary discourse. Here are two such texts: the first is from an interview with George Osborne (the current UK Chancellor of the Exchequer) on the BBC website; the second is part of a conversation between two year 11 (age 16) students about a forthcoming GCSE (national) examination.

[1]
Britain is moving from rescue to recovery. But while the British economy is
leaving intensive care; now we need to secure that recovery.
[2]
Akbar: so what you gonna revise for
Jack: well (.) Slim will come up (.) that’s what Mr Jones reckons
Akbar: yeah (.) he thinks it will be there (.) I bet he’s not right though
Jack: but (.) but I’m not going to risk it this year if it is there
Akbar: how would he know (1) he’s just guessing

Metaphor works by mapping attributes from one concrete area of knowledge to another that is more abstract (see Lakoff and Johnson 1980). In the first example, two metaphors are evident: the personification of the economy as a hospital patient; and the idea of a journey (moving/leaving from one place to another). Exploring why these metaphors were chosen in this example of political discourse can be just as intellectually demanding and satisfying as looking at metaphor in literary texts. Equally, in the second example, students can explore how the speakers co-construct an entire dialogue built around the metaphor ‘life is a gamble’. Both texts show the inherent creativity in seemingly everyday discourse.

Conclusion
The kind of work I have been describing is as easy to promote with younger students at Key Stage 3 as it is at A level. Indeed, one of the challenges of the future seems to me to offer students of all ages opportunities to engage in integrated work that can support rigorous, systematic and transparent analysis as a way of developing skills in areas of knowledge that might be seen as traditionally either more ‘literary’ or ‘linguistic’ in focus. This type of ‘language and literature’ work naturally resists a crude compartmentalisation of the subject, and instead sees the value in an integrated ‘English’.

References
Carter, R. (2004) Language and Creativity: The Art of Common Talk, London: Routledge.
Jakobson, R. (1960) ‘Closing Statement: Linguistics and Poetics’ in T. Sebeok (ed.) Style in Language, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, pp 350-70.
Lakoff, G. and Johnson, M. (1980) Metaphors We Live By, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
Madden, M. (2006) 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style, London: Jonathan Cape.
Pope, R. (1995) Textual Intervention: Creative and Critical Strategies for Literary Studies, London: Routledge
Queneau, R. (2009) (3rd edition) Exercises in Style (translated by Barbara Wright), Richmond: OneWorld Classics.
Simpson, P. (2004) Stylistics: A Resource Book for Students, London: Routledge

This article was first published in The Voice (2013)

Discovering Literature – digital resources for Romantics and Victorians

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by Moyra Beverton

Resources for learning have a different meaning since the digital revolution, which has to some extent democratised access. Teachers and students can now explore whole archives of text, sound, image and moving image.

Some digitised archives stand out because of a concerted effort to focus on learning. The British Library has collaborated with educators to make their items both accessible and useable.   Resources are organised in collections and some offer teachers’ notes for guidance.

The Discovering Literature website, aimed at KS4 & KS5, initially focuses on the Romantics and Victorians. Teachers can weave their own path through the plethora of original manuscripts, recordings, articles and artefacts or can take inspiration from the materials on offer for each author and theme. These materials can be used in diverse ways, for example to stretch and challenge the more able, perhaps by clustering activities; as directed work for background research; as a stimulus for speaking and listening assessment, whilst sharing discoveries; or for co-creation of new writing.

Most importantly, students can be guided to wider reading, given enough direction for independent research and sufficient confidence to bring discoveries back to learning in the classroom.

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In making my contribution to the teaching materials, I wanted to address certain issues that have arisen over recent years, as well as current topics such as independent learning, critical thinking and peer- or self-assessment. Anyone who has ever had to tackle issues of inclusivity, differentiation, wider reading, independent learning or accessibility to resources beyond their budget will find a reservoir of materials to suit their needs and save time, as well as a means of teaching their students the rudiments of research practice.

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With the current need to plan work on 19th century literature, opportunities for accessible, independent work can seem remote. Many students could struggle to access the unfamiliar texts; however through the Discovering Literature website they could also begin to contextualise a novel and its writer, for example investigating status and gender. Examples below are from the Teacher Notes for Persuasion:

  • Before examining The Navy List* in some detail, attribute names to students e.g. Charles, William, Edmund etc. Ask them to notice how often their name crops up in the lists. This would work well as a paired learning activity. Which person with their name is earning the most/least?
  • Which names from The Navy List are still in use today? Students could research today’s most popular names* and compare which ones have fallen into disuse, have stayed popular and/or have had a resurgence. This could lead to a discussion on the impact of names on context and vice versa.

Following on from this, the teacher could select a passage that is focused on an aspect of life in the navy and, through close reading, discuss the writer’s connection, motivation or stimulus for using this context. In this way students can contribute their opinion based on their research, thereby increasing their connection to the text, motivating them to read on in pursuit of the narrative or writer’s intentions.

The teacher’s planning for critical analysis remains within familiar territory, yet with little further effort from the teacher or department, the students have had the opportunity to increase their engagement. In addition students can use the website routinely for independent study, either guided by the teacher or making self-selections in pursuit of their own interests.

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* links to suggested external websites are included in the teachers’ notes.