Question: What are some educators’ assessment of English education today?
Answer/Quote: “I have now been working in English education for 34 years (12 years on high schools and the rest in teacher education) and have worked all that time (with one exceptional year in the United States) in England itself…. The whole education system has seen wave after wave of major ‘reforms,’ all introduced as the solution to some politically perceived problem, such as falling reading standards (no evidence) ; the reforms than have a few years of life before they are either dropped or superseded by another ‘major reform.’ However, many of the policy mistakes and ideological (not educational) impositions suffered in “England now seem to be taking hold in other English-speaking countries, most recently the United States (Standards) and Australia (National Curriculum).”
Quote: “Overall, the current government is intent on the usual ideological concerns of the right, so the most visible and influential sign will point toward the past, to correct spelling, to handwritten examinations and the appreciation of great texts.” P. 299.
Quote: “English in England still attracts highly motivated, enthusiastic, and promising student teachers; however, 40 percent leave between 5 and 5 years into their careers, a dreadful waste in every sense, of money on training and of good people just beginning important professional lives. It is possible that the current government will overreach itself with too many reforms at once and that teacher unions, parents, and the media will generate a combined campaign that will lead in a different direction. Perhaps it will even lead to an age of Informed Professionalism, when English teachers regain much control over curriculum and assessment? The other direction, sadly much more probable, is a period of much anxiety and instability and with further restrictions to the curriculum, to teacher autonomy and to the nature of teacher training, with an emphasis of on-the-job learning and no attention to reflection and academic knowledge. As Robert Johnson put it in his famous blues song: ‘I got the crossroad blues this mornin Lord/babe, I’m sinkin down.’ ” Pp 299-300,
Comment: Sound familiar? RayS.
Title: “English at the Crossroads in England? Andy Goodwyn. English Education (April 2012), 292-300.