Thursday, 29 May 2014

Mr Gove, Leave Our English GCSE Alone.

So Mr Gove has taken the decision to remove 'foreign' writers from GCSE English Literature syllabuses.  Why? This seems like a crazy and very narrow minded decision to take.  As an English graduate I have been fortunate enough to read and study many writers from around the globe.  In my final year at uni the first time around, I studied African prose and Caribbean poetry.  These were some of my favourite weeks of my course, understanding a world so different to mine through the work of these amazingly talented writers.  I still read these and similar works now, many years after the first taste of such incredible writing.  My dissertation for that degree was the Afro American protest of the 1940s-1960s, looking at how jazz and the written word gave these people a voice.  Secretly I plan to head back to uni when I retire to study for a Masters in American Culture, having avidly read works by writers from across the pond since I was a teenager, when my grandmother first gave me a copy of To Kill A Mockingbird.

Studying literature from around the world is incredibly beneficial to students, whatever age or qualification they are working towards.  Of course we should celebrate our own, homegrown talent, but at the cost of not having works from writers of other countries? Quite frankly in this modern world we need to celebrate the talent of the whole world not just make children discuss the iambic pentameter of Shakespeare or wonder why Wordsworth was so obsessed with clouds.  So please Mr Gove rethink this decision, let our childrens minds be opened up to a truly wonderful world of literature.  

Until next time, take care.

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