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Rosenshine’s Principles in Action

Notes from Rosenshine’s Principles in Action (2019) by Tom Sherrington This is the first of my notes from three books about Rosenshine’s principles. The two most useful aspects of this book are the way in which Sherrington organises the 10 principles into 4 strands (though he rightly emphasises that the...

Preaching to the Converted: on reading Margaret Mathieson’s Preachers of Culture

Partly out of a sense that I don’t know enough about the origins and history of my subject and a desire to clarify what it is I believe an English teacher should be, I’ve just finished a detailed reading of Margaret Mathieson’s Preachers of Culture. Preachers of Culture: A Study...

Interest and Enjoyment: Teachers and Pupils

Notes from The Preachers of Culture by Margaret Mathieson (1975) Chapter 14 – Interest and Enjoyment: Teachers and Pupils The final chapter of the book considers the role of pupil engagement and classroom relationships in contemporary (1975) approaches to English teaching (particularly in areas of creative writing, use of media...

The English Teacher’s Role: Strain and Conflict

Notes from The Preachers of Culture by Margaret Mathieson (1975) Chapter 13 – The English Teacher’s Role: Strain and Conflict In this chapter English is presented as placing its teachers into stressful and vulnerable roles due to its diffuse nature and conflicting ideologies. Mathieson: “This chapter suggests that progressive English...

Social and Academic Background of Teachers

Notes from The Preachers of Culture by Margaret Mathieson (1975) Chapter 12 – Social and Academic Background of Teachers This chapter examines the social background of English teachers and the impact this had on the ideology of the profession. English teachers have historically been drawn from working class and lower-middle...

Changing Views of the Good English Teacher

Notes from The Preachers of Culture by Margaret Mathieson (1975) Chapter 11 – Changing Views of the Good English Teacher This chapter considers the different qualities which have been demanded of English teachers. Mathieson argues that the development of English teaching from basic skills into Literature, creativity, growth through linguistic...

Socio-Linguistics: English and Social Justice

Notes from The Preachers of Culture by Margaret Mathieson (1975) Chapter 10 – Socio-Linguistics: English and Social Justice This chapter presents the recent (from 1970s perspective) high value placed on children’s oral participation and its link with the sense of social justice and the relativism of modern linguistics. The teaching...

F.R. Leavis and Cambridge English

Notes from The Preachers of Culture by Margaret Mathieson (1975) Chapter 9 – F.R. Leavis and Cambridge English This chapter presents the influence of F.R. Leavis, I.A. Richards and the Cambridge School on English teaching in university and schools. Like the progressives, they distrusted industrialism and believed that society’s quality...

Progressive Theories Since the 1920s

Notes from The Preachers of Culture by Margaret Mathieson (1975) Chapter 8 – Progressive Theories Since the 1920s This chapter discusses the burden placed upon English teachers by progressive educationalists. The responsibility for reviving a genuine folk culture was added to the Newbolt Committee’s demands for a liberal education for...

Anti-industrialism: The Claims for Literature and Creativity

Notes from The Preachers of Culture by Margaret Mathieson (1975) Chapter 7 – Anti-industrialism: The Claims for Literature and Creativity This chapter argues that current (1970s) definitions of English in schools have been influenced greatly by the anti-industrial tradition in literature and literary criticism. The belief in an idealised rural...

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