Rethinking and Reviving Subject English
The Murder and the Murmur
This book invites readers to engage with the rich and complex debates of contemporary English education, outlining new possibilities to revive the teaching of English.
Bringing together diverse voices and insights from educators in English across the primary, secondary, further and higher education phases, the book offers reflections and critical engagement with the lived experiences of English teachers and pupils in contemporary educational spaces. Each chapter includes example vignettes from classrooms which tell something of the story of English teaching today. The book considers how politics and policy have worked to close the opportunities of the English classroom for self-expression and critical engagement with the world – a murder. The authors then offer an exploration of the opportunities for a re-imagining of English – the murmurs of teachers and pupils that resist such closures. The chapters explore new thinking, new practices and new possibilities for English classrooms as inclusive, emancipatory, critical and creative spaces.
Offering a thoughtful and hopeful dialogue from practising English teacher-researchers, the book will be essential reading for researchers and students of English language and literature education, as well as trainee teachers of English.
Table of Contents
The Preface. Reflections on English: ‘Goin’ Back’. Nick Peim
Introduction. Rethinking and Reviving Subject English: The Murder and the Murmur. Pete Bennett, Louise Lambert and Rob Smith
Part 1. The murder: Politics, policy and practice
Chapter 1. English is shit! A post-modern murder mystery. Kirstie Harrington
Chapter 2. Where has oracy gone? The curious case of the erosion of speaking and listening in GCSE English. Nic Worgan and Georgina Garbett
Chapter 3. Is the English curriculum really suitable for all? Salya Akhtar
Chapter 4. Rethinking, reimagining English in the post-16 sector; COVID-19 and the future of English. Joanne Bowser-Angermann and Elizabeth Draper
Chapter 5. Against the clock: ‘Time for Literacy Hour, children’ – a critique of English policy in primary schools. Louise Wheatcroft
Chapter 6. "A little bit of Jekyll, a little Mr. Hyde": Secondary English teachers speak of the tensions between their perception of English teaching and the systems they are required to serve.
Part 2. Notes from the struggle: Engagement and re-openings
Chapter 7. Zainab. Heather James
Chapter 8. ‘Smallness, narrowness and servility’: Resisting English at university over 30 years.
Chapter 9. Home education and English: The ticking time bomb of future need. Mel Carter
Chapter 10. Making creative spaces - constraints and aspirations: The English curriculum from Key Stage One to Key Stage Three. Steph Perks, Jennifer Wells and Victoria Wright
Chapter 11. Old books for hungry children: Negotiating definitions of cultural capital to support ‘disadvantaged’ children in primary school reading. Shaun Allen-Dooley
Chapter 12. In your own write; for English wherever I may find her: De-territorialising writing. Pete Bennett and Howard Scott
Part 3 . The murmur: Optimism, re-imaginings and ways to rethink English
Chapter 13. The tentative: A modest proposal for a great leap forward. Shaun Passey
Chapter 14. Possibilities for teaching English literature in posthuman times. Louise Lambert
Chapter 15. Dissenting voices: Finding agency, authenticity and autonomy in the ‘luxuriant now’. Chris Waugh
Chapter 16. English and the Lefebvrian ‘moment’. Rob Smith
Chapter 17. Interrogating the listening practices of Mr Oxford Don: Teacher education, culturally sustaining pedagogies and raciolinguistic ideologies. Ian Cushing
Afterword: Resources of Hope. Pete Bennett, Louise Lambert and Rob Smith
Dr Pete Bennett is a Senior Lecturer in Post Compulsory Education at the University of Wolverhampton, UK.
Dr Louise Lambert is an Associate Professor in the School of Education and Social work at Birmingham City University, UK.
Dr Rob Smith is a Professor of Education at Birmingham City University, UK.