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This week, we’re talking about literature courses in the headlines recently, in the UK and in the US.
First, trigger warnings. Should universities have trigger warnings on their literature courses to let students know when texts include potentially sensitive issues? Is this treating students like babies or protecting their human rights?
Rob was inspired to talk about this after reading this article in The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/19/us-students-request-trigger-warnings-in-literature
Then, changes to GCSE English Literature here in the UK. Due to new advice from the Department of Education, exam boards must now include a Shakespeare play, poetry from 1789 onwards including the Romantics, a 19th Century novel and a novel/drama written 1914 onwards. All must have been written by British authours, in English. This means popular choices from US and Commonwealth authors (Steinbeck, Harper Lee, Maya Angelou, Chinua Achebe etc) are no longer eligible to be set texts. Is any change a good thing? Does this mean great British Classics will be more widely read? Might students be less engaged by these options? Is it important for fifteen and sixteen year olds to experience more than just British literature?
Here are some links to articles and blog posts, if you’d like to read more…
The media on removal of US and Commonwealth authors:
The Department of Education and Michael Gove on the changes:
A teenager’s reaction to the changes, for @CiaraOBraondin, “ScoutingForBooks”:
And another teen book blogger’s reaction – the great @serifinaxxx (Nina):
A very well-expressed blog from the hugely respected English teacher Geoff Barton:
And finally, The 10 American writers that English teens should study?
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Episode 97. An Adventures With Words production.