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Exploring The Island : mapping the shifting sands in the landscape of English classroom culture and pedagogy

Anderson, Gillian (2013) Exploring The Island : mapping the shifting sands in the landscape of English classroom culture and pedagogy. Changing English, 20 (2). pp. 113-123. ISSN 1358-684X. DOI UNSPECIFIED

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I begin with an account of my own observation of an English lesson taught by 5 one of my student teachers using a teaching resource, The Island, that I used myself as a new teacher more than 20 years ago and of my own responses on finding it transformed by two decades of change in educational policy and practice. It has become almost a given in academic articles on English teaching, to refer, in a sentence or two, to the reduction of the English curriculum, the nar- 10 rowing of pedagogy and the loss of teacher agency due to the dominance of a high stakes assessment regime. The policy changes that have given rise to this change have been clearly analysed elsewhere, but part of my purpose here is just to look again at how it might be experienced by a particular pupil in a par- ticular class. I am interested in analysing some of the features of The Island’s 15 incarnation then and now, from three different angles: as it is inscribed in the project book, as I remember teaching it and as I observed it recently in a London classroom. I draw on theories of literacy and of the teaching of writing in particular in trying to account for some of the differences but beyond that, I argue that it is essential to link such theories to wider political debates about 20 culture and to reflect back from this to the purposes of the English curriculum and culture of the English classroom. Keywords: writing; pedagogy; ability; assessment; culture; classroom

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Gill Anderson taught English in secondary schools in London for 13 years. She has worked as a subject consultant supporting English departments and, for the last 10 years, as a PGCE 15 (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) tutor in initial teacher education. She is currently based at the Institute of Education in London, where she also works with early career teachers on masters’ courses. She has written on the development of teacher identity and she is currently working towards a doctorate with research on writing in contemporary London classrooms.
Controlled Keywords: Learning, Schools and Teaching, Arts and Humanities(all)
Divisions: IOE Departments > Departments > Culture, Communication and Media
Depositing User: Atira Pure
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2013 11:14
Last Modified: 29 Jan 2015 09:03
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