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So To Kill A Mockingbird and Of Mice And Men are to be cut from gcse curriculum? Perhaps we should compile a list for Gove of books that moved and inspired us as teenagers to add to his slash list?

(20 Posts)
shoppingbagsundereyes Mon 26-May-14 09:27:37

I read Of Mice and Men in a day. On Christmas Day 1988. I sobbed my way through Christmas dinner and it still moves me to tears today. To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the all time greats in literature in my opinion. Children today have as much to learn from the issues in both these books as they did in the 80's when I read them and the 60's when they were written. It frustrates me that Gove can ditch them on a whim and there seems to be nothing we can do about it.
So let's compile a list of other greats that Gove may want to slash.

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shoppingbagsundereyes Mon 26-May-14 09:28:39

Sorry 1930's for of mice and men

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AuntieStella Mon 26-May-14 09:36:39

The actual departmental advice is that the syllabus should include as a minimums Shakespeare play, the romantic poets, a pre-20th century novel (from anywhere) and a 20th century British novel.

All the rest is coming from the exam boards, not the Government.

Yes, TKAMB is a suitable book for GCSE. But it's not the only suitable book. The new syllabus looks fine to me, but I haven't seen the list of options the exam boards are putting forward.

Can you link them?

shoppingbagsundereyes Mon 26-May-14 10:24:03

Sorry haven't seen the list of recommendations. My problem is with the insistence on British novels rather than novels written in the English language. By rejecting 20th century American works they are potentially depriving children of some great works.

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caroldecker Mon 26-May-14 11:03:38

Books that move you and cover important subjects, such as TKAM, are not necessarily good literature. English lit should cover well written books, not good books.

shoppingbagsundereyes Mon 26-May-14 19:04:14

To kill a mockingbird is brilliantly written. Carefully observed characters, interesting narrative style, gripping.

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Cardinal Mon 26-May-14 19:05:22

The Bell Jar was completely formative for me as a teenager.

Campaspe Tue 27-May-14 11:31:47

YY to The Bell Jar. But I found that Jane Eyre and Pride And Prejudice inflamed my teenage sensibilities. Well, to be honest, just about everything I read between the ages of 14 and 16 seemed either erotic or deeply meaningful. It's a shame to lose those books from the syllabus, but there are many others that can move teenagers as well.

CoteDAzur Thu 29-May-14 12:18:24

I read TKAM as a teenager at school, too. It was fine, I enjoyed it at the time. It didn't mark me nearly as much as Lord Of The Flies or Macbeth, though.

I have since moved on and discovered much better-written books on subjects that are far more relevant to this century, though, and don't understand this fixation on TKAM that I sometimes see on MN.

yourlittlesecret Thu 29-May-14 14:37:24

Schools don't have huge budgets for books and they all have a stockpile of TKAM and OMAM. Also very easy, short reads so doable for less able readers. It's not about educating them or inspiring them it's about the exam factory.

KinkyDorito Thu 29-May-14 15:38:51

I love teaching OMAM - it can be incredibly complex when you dig into it but also accessible for the less able. The students always seem to enjoy it too. I take it they are getting rid of the 'Other Cultures' section of the Lit syllabus as this is where it is studied (or as Prose choice for English only).

I've taught TKAM several times to bright Year 9s and will continue to do so.

I'm assuming we'll drop OMAM into 9 too, as there are too many copies floating about to completely discard it.

IndridCold Thu 29-May-14 16:16:29

I thought this article by Claire Fox in the Guardian was good, and rather supports yourlittlesecrets exam factory point.

I was quite shocked when I learned from a friend recently that his daughter only read and studied 4 books in four years at secondary school, including the two she studied for GCSE, and they were To Kill and Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men!!

When I was at school in the 1970s we must have read nearly two plays and two novels a year! These included OMAN, as well as Steinbeck's The Pearl, Lord of the Flies, Tess of the D'Urbervilles, the first half of David Copperfield and numerous short stories by the like of DH Lawrence and Katherine Mansfield. For plays I had read three Shakespeare plays, The Importance of Being Ernest, She Stoops to Conquer (god help me!) and a weird Chinese play called Lady Precious Stream. This was all on top of the books and plays that I eventually went on to study for O level.

This was at a state school BTW, although it was a grammar school it was not a particularly hi-falutin one, and I was definitely not a star pupil (solid middle setter).

I don't understand how things can have changed so much since I was at school?

IndridCold Thu 29-May-14 16:19:02

Hanif Kureshi's Buddha of Suburbia would make a brilliant book to study for GSCE IMO

unadulterateddad Thu 29-May-14 16:26:01

One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich by Solzhenitsyn was a massive impact on me at school. Definately a book that formed opinions and well worth studying.

KinkyDorito Thu 29-May-14 16:50:02

Ultimately, he's going to have to get his wallet out if he wants to change what we teach. At 6.99 a novel, class sets aren't cheap. Ideally, we need 33 (Max class of 32 plus 1 for teacher) for each class. In my last school, the year group was 310.

If they study 2 novels for Lit and Lang, that is 620 new books. They don't all need to be taught at the same time, but they might all need access to a clean copy during the Lit examination...

It is very, very expensive to change - that's why it hasn't for some time. Departments just can't afford it.

yourlittlesecret Thu 29-May-14 17:04:02

One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich
Ah I remember reading that, mainly in order to say I had read Solzhenitsyn and it was shorter than The Gulag Archipelago grin

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Sun 01-Jun-14 21:05:49

Funnily enough I was chatting with my Dad the other week and we both thought of mice and men could go.

noblegiraffe Sun 01-Jun-14 21:09:58

I thought Of Mice and Men was shit, and hated studying it. I'd much rather have studied some Orwell.

FrancesNiadova Mon 09-Jun-14 07:23:10

Catch 22, Joseph Heller. I loved it, a deconstructed novel, cleverly crafted, with a strong anti-war message.
Not British though, so probably on the list!

CoreyTrevorLahey Mon 09-Jun-14 07:32:02

We have always lived in the Castle, by Shirley Jackson.

Amazing mid-century American novel about being a teenager, an outsider, an observer.

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