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ERIC Number: EJ997403
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 52
ISSN: ISSN-0958-5176
"Every Child's Birthright"? Democratic Entitlement and the Role of Canonical Literature in the English National Curriculum
Coles, Jane
Curriculum Journal, v24 n1 p50-66 2013
In the current government's "Great Books" approach to the National Curriculum for English lies an apparent desire for all school students to benefit from access to a shared "cultural heritage", where compulsory knowledge of Shakespeare and other canonical writers is in itself assumed to be a transformative and democratising process. With reference to qualitative classroom-based research focusing on year 9 and 10 students' experience of Shakespeare at Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4, this article questions that assumption. Drawing on classroom and interview data from two London comprehensive schools, it suggests that for many students it has been an experience that serves to exclude, a reproduction of existing socio-cultural differences. Ultimately, even in classrooms where teachers attempt to construct Shakespeare pedagogically as "active", the process of reading may remain a passive one, where textual meanings are ultimately almost entirely mediated by teachers, mindful of ensuring all students are afforded "access" to the text. This article argues that Shakespeare's iconic status and the authority of the text thus remain largely intact, a disabling process for some students.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (England)