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One size fits all: the increasing standardisation of English teachers' work in England

Goodwyn, A. (2012) One size fits all: the increasing standardisation of English teachers' work in England. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 11 (4). pp. 36-53. ISSN 1175-8708

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English teachers in England have experienced a lengthy period of external constraint, increasingly controlling their practice. This constraint was originated in the 1989 National curriculum. Although in its first version it was in harmony with practice, its numerous revisions have moved it a long way from teachers’ own values and beliefs. This move is illustrated through research into the teaching of literature, which is seen by English teachers as often arid and driven by examinations alone. This period has been increasingly dominated by high-stakes testing, school league tables and frequent school inspections. Another powerful element has been the introduction of Standards for teachers at every career level from student teachers to the Advanced Skills Teachers. Research demonstrates that this introduction of Standards has had some beneficial effects. However, research also shows that the government decision to replace all these, hierarchically structured standards, with a single standard is seen by many teachers as a retrograde step. Evidence from Advanced Skills Teachers of English shows that the government’s additional proposal to bring in a Master Teacher standard is equally problematic. The decline of the National Association for the Teaching of English, the key subject association for English teachers, is discussed in relation to this increasingly negative and constraining environment, concluding that many English teachers are choosing a form of local resistance which, while understandable, weakens the credibility of the profession and erodes the influence of its key voice, NATE.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Language and Literacy in Education
ID Code:30829
Publisher:Waikato Faculty of Education

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