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To think Michael Gove has actually got something right for once?

(268 Posts)
privitandpetunias Sun 25-May-14 17:09:58

Article in the guardian saying that Mr Gove wants to remove the American literature from the GCSE curriculum and replace it with English literature (sorry can't do links). This is something I have often thought that there are so many great novels out there that are part of our cultural heritage that it would be great for our children to study.

whynowblowwind Sun 25-May-14 17:10:59

I don't care whether it's American or English, I am relieved Of Mice and Men has been removed though.

Hulababy Sun 25-May-14 17:11:34

Surely there should be a range of literature from all cultures and backgrounds ideally, not just English books?

There are one or two threads about this already on MN and the general MN consensus is not in favour of the removal if some key books.

soverylucky Sun 25-May-14 17:12:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pobblewhohasnotoes Sun 25-May-14 17:13:15

I agree, surely it's better to have a range from different cultures and backgrounds?

I can't stand old English classics, but I love books such as The Colour Purple, which we read at school.

carabos Sun 25-May-14 17:13:15

You do know that students are allowed to read books that aren't on the syllabus don't you? So that if they are studying Steinbeck, they can read Dickens in their spare time? Or graphic novels? Or a newspaper?

BerniesBurneze Sun 25-May-14 17:13:49

Ohhh I loved Of Mice and Men

VivaLeBeaver Sun 25-May-14 17:13:53


Surely the most important thing is that they study good books regardless of where the author was from..

What next? Only british history and geography studied?

MiniTheMinx Sun 25-May-14 17:13:58

And what is so special about our cultural heritage. Some people might argue that the cannon is an imperialist sexist institution. What about Caribbean lit or Nigerian, plenty of decent books written in all languages from all cultures. I agree we don't want to be over taken with American culture but its a bit too late to revive the Empire.

BackforGood Sun 25-May-14 17:15:29

Yes, well I suppose you can hold whatever opinion you want, but I have to disagree with you.
I would celbrate the highly unlikely to ever happen day that Gove got something right.

Btw - theres already a thread running on this

whynowblowwind Sun 25-May-14 17:15:54

I think it's really important to study texts from different cultures and traditions.

These texts WERE available on the old syllabus but ignored in favour of Of. Mice and Men - largely because of its length. I don't have anything particularly against it as a novel but I think it's a pity that so many students' sole encounter with literature pretty much boils down to this one text.

TucsonGirl Sun 25-May-14 17:16:20

Children should learn about their own cultural heritage before they learn about those of people from other countries. I'm not opposed to American books on the curiculum, but British books should make up the backbone of English literature stydy.

Bowlersarm Sun 25-May-14 17:16:57


Why restrict knowledge and learning?

FreudiansSlipper Sun 25-May-14 17:19:17

Why are you relieved that Of Mice and Men has been removed

There is so much in such a short book, the characters, their relationships, the time the book is set in tells so much about how people I would have thought it was still a great book to read and to do and analysis on

startwig1982 Sun 25-May-14 17:19:47

Yabu as Michael Gove has never got a thing right and is unlikely to.

Jengnr Sun 25-May-14 17:22:40

He's a wanker.

To Kill A Mockingbird is a hugely important book. Mind you, the themes aren't exactly ones this bunch of cunts want to encourage are they?

Hulababy Sun 25-May-14 17:24:25

Viva - a lot of the new curriculum is very English based, inc Geography and History, from what I can gather. It is all seeming to feel very insular.

TheReluctantCountess Sun 25-May-14 17:24:52

There's no way most schools could afford new texts.

whynowblowwind Sun 25-May-14 17:25:07

I've explained a bit above Freudian. I feel it's okay as a text and for some students it is a good choice. However, it's relied upon too much as the ultimate fall-back, the safe option. It isn't challenging particularly in its themes or language - I know this makes it a good choice for some students but for others, particularly those who should be getting A*s/As, it's limiting rather than expansive.

For reasons I don't understand though some teachers are terrified to engage with different texts/themes. There are 5 fantastic choices of text on the other cultures option on the AQA paper yet over 90% of schools opt for Of Mice and Men. I think that's a shame.

Hulababy Sun 25-May-14 17:25:26

TucsonGirl - what about English pupils who have a different cultural heritage?

LumpySpacedPrincess Sun 25-May-14 17:25:29

Engaging and relevant books should be studied, regardless of the nationality of the author.

JanineStHubbins Sun 25-May-14 17:26:21


Gove should have no input in curriculum design for any subject. He is not an education professional.

SconeRhymesWithGone Sun 25-May-14 17:26:22

If I may be a bit pedantic here, OP, American literature is English literature (at least works that are written in English; some American literature is in other languages, especially Spanish). I think you mean British literature.

NeedaDiscoNap Sun 25-May-14 17:30:52

Students do study 'the classics' as well as some American literature OP. Both are worthy of study. I have taught 'To Kill a Mockingbird' many, many times and students never fail to be moved by it.

Teachers should be able to choose literature appropriate for the class they have in front of them. Some of the British classics are very difficult to teach to certain types of classes/pupils.

kim147 Sun 25-May-14 17:32:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

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