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English GCSE: The death of reading for pleasure? watch

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    The title 'English GCSE' is specific for me, but since I didn't do English at A-level (for reasons I'll go in to later) I can't speak for the whole of English teaching in general.

    Reading in my opinion is a very important aspect of our lives, since it allows us to be creative and stories bring us all together. The point of this thread is that in my opinion I think the English curriculum destroys this.

    I'm sure many of you cringe at the thought of language analysis, looking for specific sections of text and overinterpreting so much that it is inevitable that you will hate the text that you're studying by the time you're finished. If you really like a book, did you enjoy it because you analysed the crap out of it? I doubt that a lot. I could also make a nice bet that the majority of people, if they had to analyse their favourite book in the same way they did at GCSE and (perhaps) beyond, they would lose interest.

    Now, there are lots of children who do not read for pleasure and probably never will. In my opinion English GCSE encourages this even further.

    I didn't take English further than GCSE just because I knew I would be doomed to do this for another year at least. And before anyone says 'Oh you just didn't understand the meaning of it all.' I got an A in English Language, I can analyse texts comfortably.

    I just wondered what other people thought about this. The nature of this thread could be applied to many subjects, which brings us on to the debate about whether education at the moment actually works and whether or not it is only outside interests that determine how you do at school.
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    I don't know about English GCSE but I've definitely lost a lot of interest in reading since starting uni, particularly this year because I have to read so much academic stuff. I find it quite difficult to pick up a novel now, even if it's an entertaining book, because I just associate reading as being this long, more often than not boring task. I used to love reading!
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    i actually liked studying hamlet at a level. somtimes something good breaks through lol.
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    I absolutely loved reading when i was in prep school. You chose your book, read to a teacher etc, and developed that way.

    Then come GCSE, being forced to do something pretty much has a good chance of killing it.
    This is why (i think) the A level system is better - you choose what you want to do, so you will take more interest in it. In theory anyway.

    On the other hand, maybe it's just the change in culture to partying/etc instead of expanding ones knowledge =P
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    I completely agree with the original poster. I am currently doing an A-level in English Lit, and my passion for books and especially poetry has died a miserable death since. Most of the analytical work we do is just reading far too deeply into it in my opinion, coming to conclusions about a particular text that even the author of it probably hadn't considered. 'Oh, this poet said this for this reason and to convey this meaning'...perhaps he just said it because it sounded good? I actually enjoyed English at GCSE level, but ever since it has just seemed like a completely pointless subject to be doing.
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    (Original post by Wilberforce)
    'Oh, this poet said this for this reason and to convey this meaning'...perhaps he just said it because it sounded good?
    :thumbsup:
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    (Original post by sicarius1992)
    The title 'English GCSE' is specific for me, but since I didn't do English at A-level (for reasons I'll go in to later) I can't speak for the whole of English teaching in general.

    Reading in my opinion is a very important aspect of our lives, since it allows us to be creative and stories bring us all together. The point of this thread is that in my opinion I think the English curriculum destroys this.

    I'm sure many of you cringe at the thought of language analysis, looking for specific sections of text and overinterpreting so much that it is inevitable that you will hate the text that you're studying by the time you're finished. If you really like a book, did you enjoy it because you analysed the crap out of it? I doubt that a lot. I could also make a nice bet that the majority of people, if they had to analyse their favourite book in the same way they did at GCSE and (perhaps) beyond, they would lose interest.

    Now, there are lots of children who do not read for pleasure and probably never will. In my opinion English GCSE encourages this even further.

    I didn't take English further than GCSE just because I knew I would be doomed to do this for another year at least. And before anyone says 'Oh you just didn't understand the meaning of it all.' I got an A in English Language, I can analyse texts comfortably.

    I just wondered what other people thought about this. The nature of this thread could be applied to many subjects, which brings us on to the debate about whether education at the moment actually works and whether or not it is only outside interests that determine how you do at school.
    I disagree with the point in bold; language analysis is an enjoyable part of literature as you're able to toy creatively with perspectives and conjure something new and more interesting every time. I think the boredom with GCSE and reading is the lack of depth (this may just have been me, but meh ).
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    (Original post by Wilberforce)
    I completely agree with the original poster. I am currently doing an A-level in English Lit, and my passion for books and especially poetry has died a miserable death since. Most of the analytical work we do is just reading far too deeply into it in my opinion, coming to conclusions about a particular text that even the author of it probably hadn't considered. 'Oh, this poet said this for this reason and to convey this meaning'...perhaps he just said it because it sounded good? I actually enjoyed English at GCSE level, but ever since it has just seemed like a completely pointless subject to be doing.
    Or even worse when "[Name of author] did this to convey X" and said author is spinning in his or her grave as that's not what it was supposed to mean. Rather Y and Z, not X.

    :sigh:
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    (Original post by Wilberforce)
    Most of the analytical work we do is just reading far too deeply into it in my opinion, coming to conclusions about a particular text that even the author of it probably hadn't considered.
    As tempting as it might be to think otherwise, the author's 'intent' is no more valid than the next man's. You can read more about the so-called 'intentional fallacy' in this link I found on Google just now.

    'Oh, this poet said this for this reason and to convey this meaning'...perhaps he just said it because it sounded good? I actually enjoyed English at GCSE level, but ever since it has just seemed like a completely pointless subject to be doing.
    The point is to find out why it 'sounded good'.
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    Honestly, I tend to cast the analytical approaches to the texts aside when I'm reading for leisure. Sometimes I think, "Was ____ trying to construe this or something else?", but it doesn't make me hate reading. If anything, it's just added another dimension to what I'm looking at. x3

    I do tend to think along the lines of "Maybe we're just over-analysing this poem.", but then again - it's interesting to see what it COULD mean.
 
 
 
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