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Mr Gove's pronouncements on curriculum... blah, blah, blah, blah... I've got my fingers in my ears!

Discussion in 'English' started by Malu, Jan 23, 2011.

  1. On the BBC website it would appear that Mr Gove is complaining that you only need to study one novel for GCSE. I'm not sure which spec he is referring to, but I do know that when I did my O-levels (back in the time of the pterodactyls), I only studied one novel (Pride and Prejudice) and one play (Henry V) - no poetry - I don't remember reading any significant poetry at school, to be honest. So my GCSE students actually have to read more than I did. I never did Chaucer at school, never did Dryden or Pope (which he mentions in his comments - I'm not sure why). Does this mean I was deprived? Or just amazingly lucky! (I quite like Chaucer, but Pope and Dryden have always left me cold).
     
  2. On the BBC website it would appear that Mr Gove is complaining that you only need to study one novel for GCSE. I'm not sure which spec he is referring to, but I do know that when I did my O-levels (back in the time of the pterodactyls), I only studied one novel (Pride and Prejudice) and one play (Henry V) - no poetry - I don't remember reading any significant poetry at school, to be honest. So my GCSE students actually have to read more than I did. I never did Chaucer at school, never did Dryden or Pope (which he mentions in his comments - I'm not sure why). Does this mean I was deprived? Or just amazingly lucky! (I quite like Chaucer, but Pope and Dryden have always left me cold).
     
  3. gruoch

    gruoch New commenter

    I did The Romantics for 'O' level plus a novel and a Shakespeare play.
    We also did Chaucer and Milton at A Level, as well as Shakespeare. No Dryden or Pope, though Pope has been on the A level syllabus till recently. IIRC he has now gone.
     
  4. Same here! Except we didn't even do a novel for O level English Literature. We did Bernard Shaw's, St Joan instead. The alternative was George Grossmith's 'the Diary of a Nobody' which I read as an adult and loved, though it's perhaps not in the realm of great literature. Also on the sylabus was Romeo and Juliet and a book of poetry. That was it! Chaucer was only done at A level.
    I believe we once read a Pope poem (not for examination purposes) but I can't remember anything about it.
     
  5. Quite! Pope, Dryden, Chaucer etc were on the A-level syllabus, but the old O-level syllabus appears even more restricted than the current GCSE! I do wish politicians would stop issuing pronouncements - but then that would be like Canute wouldn't it - trying to stop the tide...
    He hasn't said anything that makes me think him worth listening to (other than the fact that he pays my salary!)...
     
  6. The problem isn't really that there's only one novel on the GCSE paper - one is enough to assess how well a student can criticise literature, and there's no point overburdening students with lots of material to learn. The problem is that testing has got to such an insane level that, if there is only one novel on the paper, schools will teach only that one novel, cramming pupils for two whole years, because that's the way to get those precious C grades.
    We did To Kill a Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies for O-level, also Larkin's Whitsum Weddings, and Macbeth. However we only started work in the last year, except for Lord of the Flies. We did 1984 before then, and The Crucible, which weren't examined. We were also entered for a harder examination board, because the teacher thought that the syllabus was more interesting. A few people complained - a straw in the wind - but were over-ruled.




     
  7. SO, the new specs are tougher then! WJEC Eng Lit: Novel from a different culture, another novel and play, plus comparative unseen poetry for exam and Shakespeare linked with poetry for controlled assessment. TWO whole novels for the exam. I'm giddy at the thought of being compliant with the Gove's pronouncements. I was the first year of GCSE so, 100% coursework. Don't remember any of it.
     
  8. https://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storycode=6068033
    <font face="Times New Roman">Michael Gove has outstripped Kenneth Baker in backwardness. Baker's 1988 national curriculum matched almost point for point the curriculum for the new state secondary schools of 1904. Gove has surpassed him by nearly 40 years.</font><font size="3">His new English Baccalaureate is virtually a carbon copy of the 1868 Taunton report's curriculum for most "middle class schools", as they were then called. ....</font>
     
  9. In the recent legacy spec, students had to study six texts - poetry, prose and drama both pre and post-1914. Gove's sleight of hand simply refers to the fact that there was one novel on the Lit exam paper. Disingenuous, IMO.
     
  10. If any more reading is put into the new specs, we'll have to start the GCSE course in Year 7. I see it coming! Our new GCSE syllabus contains two novels, two plays, modern and heritage poetry as well as other stuff. This is plenty to study in 2 years. Has Mr Gove forgotten that there are plenty of children out there without access to the texts (parents can't/won't buy them and the libraries are closing) and that a lot of pupils need extra help reading?
    Equally, we now have to teach very tricky texts like Pope and Dryden that I did at Uni to low ability year 7s or 8s? The man is mad.
     
  11. They used to cram in the 'good old days', we read 'Lord of theFlies' in what was then third year, then we had to do it again for two years comming up to O Level, I htink the only otherthing we did was 'A midsomer's night dream' but there could have been more, I managed to get the Language O Level early and dropped Literature.
     
  12. In 1983 I did Henry IV part 1, WW1 poets and 'The Siege of Krishnapur' for Lit. For Lang I recall writing a story and doing a bit of comprehension, I really don't remember any more. In the 90's I used to teach 'A Modest Proposal' at GCSE which was a challenge but they loved it. I really can't think that the O' Level was genuinely more rigorous.
     
  13. There wasn't the same examination obsession then. If your purpose is to assess you only need to ask questions about one or two works to gain an impression of a child's overall ability. The problem is that if the assessment becomes too high stakes, and professionalism become eroded, then teachers will teach only those one or two works, intensively, for two or three years, to artifically inflate the grades. So the examination board has to respond by expanding and prescribing the curriuclum more closely.

     

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