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Selecting books for study

Posted by Garry Collins, AATE President on 25 May 2014
  • The following letter was published in U on Sunday, a lift-out in The Sunday Mail of 25 May 2014. The paper moved the first sentence of my second paragraph to the first paragraph but, other than that, there was no editing. The paper's heading for a trio of letters in response to Whiting's piece was "Read between the lines".

Books we have to read

Frances Whiting’s entertaining piece about book clubs highlights a perennial problem for English teachers (18/5).

Choice is much talked about in relation to education these days but schools usually dictate which books students have to study. Sometimes even students who are avid readers of titles they select themselves fail to be enthusiastic about the books that are set for them. Just because the adult world agrees that certain titles are acknowledged greats of the literary canon doesn’t necessarily mean they will connect with teenagers.

On another note, it was interesting to see Whiting point out that classics of a past era of primary schooling like the Dick and Dora series were pretty lousy stories. It is worth remembering that they were a cornerstone of a presumed educational golden age to which some conservative commentators would have the school system return.

Garry Collins
President
Australian Association for the Teaching of English (AATE)

Author: Garry Collins, AATE President
About: Garry Collins is the Immediate Past President of ETAQ and began a 2 year term as AATE President on 1 January 2014. A retired high school English teacher, he now works in the School of Education at the University of Queensland as a sessional tutor in English curriculum courses.
Tags: Curriculum matters

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