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What Texts D’you Teach?

June 15, 2010

I’m in the market for new texts for my English Department and would appreciate any suggestions. Actually, there’s a little more to it than that, because I’m also curious to know what texts are currently being taught to pupils studying for Higher (and Int 2/Int 1) English in Scottish schools.

There is no longer a requirement to teach Scottish texts (why?), but I suspect that many of us are still doing so. I have a really good Higher class for next year, so will be teaching (introducing?) my class to Chris Guthrie and the end of an era in Sunset Song. But I also know that it is not everyone’s cup of tea. I love the book, and think I do a good job of teaching it, but have met plenty who have ended up — if not hating it — certainly apathetic towards it. Me? I blame the teacher! 😉

Anyway, I though I’d try and get a feel for what is being taught around the country so have set up a survey on Google Apps that I’d like to invite you to contribute to. Obviously, it is designed to get a feel for what is being taught in Scotland, but I would like to extend a cordial invite to any English Teacher anywhere to post suggestions for texts. My target students are in the 15-18 age range, and vary from able to very able readers…

If you want to add to the survey, you can find it at: http://bit.ly/highertextsurvey or if you don’t want to do that, you are welcome to leave a comment at the bottom of this post. If you just want to see the results so far, you can see them here: http://bit.ly/englishtextsresults

(Incidentally, it would be a great help to the survey if you could pass the link on to the English Department in your own school)

And finally… I’m glad to be back in harness! Thanks to everyone for your kind wishes over the past few months. I really have been overwhelmed by the kindness of (virtual) strangers.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 16, 2010 8:33 am

    Hi Neil

    What a fantastic idea and we look very forward to the results. In fact, if you and any teachers out there have particular texts they are either already teaching or interested in teaching we’d be happy to organise an event to share ideas etc. Contact us through our website if this is of interest.

    Otherwise, thanks for getitng this started! Will forward the survey to all our teacher contacts.

  2. June 23, 2010 11:50 pm

    Glad you still do Sunset Song – I did it with so many Higher classes, and judging from the discussions at the time and the subsequent memories (mostly on facebook) of some of the students who were in those classes it went down as well as I would have hoped. Do you have a copy of the old BBC series? (It came out in the late 60s, I think) We used to watch bits in class and the pupils would come back in the lunch hour to watch more of it – creaky but authentic in feel!

  3. June 26, 2010 11:31 am

    Just checked out your survey form – obviously what I did is not exactly current, but I fairly recently used Greene’s “The Heart of the Matter” at Higher: some great discussions about guilt and religion, including a day when we hauled a chaplain in to sit in the circle.

  4. July 7, 2010 5:20 pm

    So enjoyed teaching ‘The Age of Innocence’ by Edith Wharton last year (at AS level – 16-17s) and then ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood (at A2 level – 17-18s). And Plath’s poetry went down well. Have taught Catcher in the Rye to my GCSE (16s) group this year and they loved it (and loved Holden Caulfield!) It’s been a good year.

    Thanks for signing up to my blog.

  5. July 15, 2010 1:37 pm

    Neil I’m extremely jealous of your class. Those are all cracking choices! Have you taught much contemporary fiction? I know Atwood is contemporary, just wondering if there are any new and recent books you’ve come across or are interested in exploring.

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