English Teaching: Practice and Critique

The state we're in: English Teaching in England in the 21st century

Volume 1 Number 1 November 2002

Richard Andrews (University of York, United Kingdom)

The article traces developments within English teaching in England from 2000 to mid-2002 in the light of curricular initiatives in the 1990s. It suggests that such curricular reform is still operating within a conservative, target-setting and assessment-driven model. There is partial recognition of the importance of information and communication technologies in English teaching, of "viewing" as the fifth aspect of language skills and of the contribution from work experience and "real-life" contexts for the development of language. Models of learning that underpin the present teaching of English are enlightened though somewhat prescriptive. On the positive side, there are signs that arguing and questioning in order to develop thinking are on the increase, with a particular link to the new subject Citizenship. On the other hand, the relationship between English and Media Studies still remains unresolved after a generation of attempts by media education teachers to make it more mainstream;  and the "national" in the National Curriculum remains a misnomer. 

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