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ERIC Number: EJ1093730
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0030-9230
No "Fear of Flying"? Worrals of the WAAF, Fiction, and Girls' Informal Wartime Education
Spencer, Stephanie
Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education, v52 n1-2 p137-153 2016
This article focuses on the series of 11 books about a young female pilot, "Worrals of the WAAF," by W.E. Johns, creator of Biggles. The Worrals books were published from 1941 when recruitment for the Women's Auxiliary Air Force was falling. Johns chose to ignore that the WAAF supported pilots through their work on the ground and did not themselves fly. The article discusses how historians of education can draw on fiction in order to identify aspects of informal education, especially during wartime, when so many children's formal schooling was disrupted or non-existent. Drawing on Erica Jong's 1970s metaphor of "flying" as representative of female freedom, it is possible to read Worrals' character as a role model for teenage girls. The conundrum of why Johns chose to put Worrals in the WAAF, rather than in Air Transport with the likes of Amy Johnson, is further explored in the light of evidence that a number of WAAF were seconded to the SOE. It concludes that fiction read alongside a range of other evidence offers a rich source for the historian engaged in a search for the gendered nature of education beyond the classroom.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A