1st Edition

English and Its Teachers A History of Policy, Pedagogy and Practice

By Simon Gibbons Copyright 2017
    182 Pages
    by Routledge

    182 Pages
    by Routledge

    English and Its Teachers offers a historical overview of the development of secondary English teaching in schools over the past 50 years. Initially charting the rise of a new progressive approach in the 1960s, the book then considers the implications for the subject and its teachers of three decades of central policy intervention. Throughout, document and interview data are combined to construct a narrative that details the fascinating and, at times, turbulent history.  

    The book is divided into two main parts – ‘The age of invention’ and ‘The age of intervention’. The first of these sections details how innovative English teachers and academics helped to develop a new model. The second section explores how successive governments have sought to shape English through policy. A final part draws comparisons with the teaching of the subject in other major English-speaking nations and considers what the future might hold.  

    English and Its Teachers is a valuable resource for those interested in the teaching of English in secondary schools, from new entrants to the profession, to experienced teachers and academics working in the sector.

    Acknowledgements 1. Introduction Part 1: The Age of Invention 2. A New Progressivism: English from the 1960s into the 1970s 3. The Calm Before the Storm? English in the 1970s and 1980s Part 2: The Age of Intervention 4. Standardisation? The National Curriculum and National Assessment 5. New Labour, New Policies: The Focus on Literacy 6. The Coalition and Beyond: Back to the Future? Part 3: Abroad and Beyond 7. An English Subject Abroad 8. Conclusion – The Futures of English?


    Simon Gibbons is the director of teacher education at King’s College London.

    ‘If you want to know about English teaching in the last fifty years this is the book to read. Simon Gibbons takes you from the landmark Dartmouth Conference, in 1966, in the States, to the present day in a comprehensive but ever readable way. Inevitably he highlights key moments, such as the strike against the SATs in the early nineties but he layers the fifty years of history with interviews with some of the key players and this makes it all the more interesting and offers a unique perspective.’ - Dr Bethan Marshall, Senior Lecturer in English in Education, King’s College London 

    'This is a bold, clear and comprehensive description of the principal schools of thought, professional developments, political struggles and key events in English teaching in England over 50 years. It will be a standard read for anyone interested in what English has been, is now and could be in the future.' - John Richmond, English advisor, part of the National Writing Project, Language in the National Curriculum Project and schools television.

    'This is an important book both educationally and politically. It gives a lucid and uncompromising account of the last 50 years in the history of English teaching which, in the best of all worlds, would be required reading for all new entrants to the profession.' - John Hickman, NATE Secondary Committee