GOVE WANTS THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE TEACHING OF ENGLISH TO RETURN TO RIGOUR

Slap Down

Gove makes it pretty clear what he thinks of the National Association for the Teaching of English

Comment

Ian McNeilly, the head of the National Association for the Teaching of English, has said of the Government’s new English curriculum: “It is fantastic that Mr Gove has acknowledged that English as a subject needs to move into a different century. Unfortunately for all concerned, he has chosen the 19th rather than the 21st”. Such drollery  will have raised a smirk or two among English teachers.

When Michael Gove was reminded of this comment in   Commons education questions, on 3 December,he  said:  “I do not see anything wrong with having the 19th century at the heart of the English curriculum. As far as I am concerned, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens and Thomas Hardy—not to mention George Eliot—are great names that every child should have the chance to study. As for the National Association for the Teaching of English, I am afraid that it is yet another pressure group that has been consistently wrong for decades. It is another aspect of the educational establishment involving the same people whose moral relativism and whose cultural approach of dumbing down have held our children back. Those on the Opposition Benches have not yet found a special interest group with which they will not dumbly nod along and assent to. I believe in excellence in English education. I believe in the canon of great works, in proper literature and in grammar, spelling and punctuation. As far as I am concerned, the NATE will command my respect only when it returns to rigour.” Ouch!

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One thought on “GOVE WANTS THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE TEACHING OF ENGLISH TO RETURN TO RIGOUR

  1. I realise this is some time after the event, but can I add this note, which features in my ‘Media Studies’ article in the new ‘Teaching English’ magazine from NATE, due out on Thursday:

    Unfortunately, Mr Gove (or his poor researcher) failed to read rigorously – a touch of ‘dumbing down’ in the hard-pressed DfE? Ian immediately added in the TES: ‘Few advocate the teaching of “high-quality” literature more than English teachers, but… a love of reading was best encouraged through appropriate and engaging texts rather than through a relentless diet of canonical works and being able to recognise an ode.’

    Simon Gibbons, Chair of NATE, says more in the same issue: ‘NATE is not some sort of reactionary protest group… members have always had the achievement of children as their primary concern…’

    To learn more, join NATE! Or at least sign up for the free monthly emails and follow NATE on Twitter:
    http://www.nate.org.uk/page/newsletters – @NATEfeed

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