10 Jun 2018

Not Interested ‘Conservative’ Shakespeare, ‘Dead White Men’

Mary Bousted, head of the UK’s largest teaching union, slams school reading lists
By : Appalling. The start of the piece:
The head of the UK’s largest teaching union has warned that plans to move towards a ‘knowledge-based’ curriculum risks “hurtling” England into the past.
Dismissing plans for a traditional, academic curriculum as outdated, National Education Union (NEU) joint general secretary Mary Bousted argued the importance of including “identity”-focused figures to inspire people from minority groups.
Delivering a speech at Bryanston Education Summit, she said: “As an English teacher, I have no problem with Shakespeare, with Pope, with Dryden, with Shelley.
“But I knew in a school where there are 38 first languages taught other than English that I had to have Afro-Caribbean writers in that curriculum, I had to have Indian writers, I had to have Chinese writers to enable pupils to foreshadow their lives in the curriculum.”
According to Bousted, whose union represents more than 500,000 education workers, teachers should be focused on developing skills like “resilience” in pupils rather than engaging them with great works of literature, because the literary canon is conservative and too white.
If a powerful knowledge curriculum means recreating the best that has been thought by dead, white men — then I’m not very interested in it,”
the Times Educational Supplement reported her saying.

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