Gove plans to axe TKAM and Of Mice and Men from GCSE English Lit

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Everglow
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(Original post by The Independent)
Classics of American literature, including Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men, have been dropped from the English literature GCSE syllabus following demands reportedly made by Michael Gove.

The Education Secretary said students ought to focus on works by British writers such as Jane Austen and Shakespeare, The Sunday Times reported.

OCR, one the UK’s biggest exam boards, told the newspaper: "Of Mice and Men", which Michael Gove really dislikes, will not be included. It was studied by 90 per cent of teenagers taking English literature GCSE in the past.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/ed...s-9432818.html

I think this is a huge shame. I don't understand why the literature studied at GCSE should have to be from British writers. Both of these books are classics which fit excellently into the GCSE syllabus; so what Gove hopes to achieve from abolishing them I don't quite know. It just seems like petty patriotism to modify the syllabus just for the sake of making it more British.
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ylime20
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I was just thinking about starting this thread. I agree, it's a huge shame. I did OMAM last year for my GCSEs and the year before last, my brother did TKAM for his. I am ashamed to say that I've never read TKAM, but it's on my waiting list of books that I simply must read.

Reading OMAM really opened my eyes to American literature. I started reading The Great Gatsby and I just fell in love with the way F Scott Fitzgerald wrote and how he was able to portray society at that time so clearly. It's from reading OMAM that I have gone on to read works by J D Salinger (started Catcher) and Chuck Palahniuk.

Truth be told, I have a small book collection which is largely made up of authors who are not from the UK. I have the likes of Palahniuk, Bret Easton Ellis, Salinger (all American), Margaret Atwood and Douglas Coupland (discovered Coupland through my English AS this year/ both are Canadian) and I even bought 'We Need New Names' by NoViolet Bulawayo, who is from Zimbabwe. It is no lie or exaggeration that I discovered all of these books just from the exposure I had to American literature during my GCSEs. The worst thing we can do as a country is shut off young learners from expanding their cultural horizons. If it's written in English, I see no reason why it can't be studied for an English qualification.
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melody19
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He also wants to remove 'The Crucible' which is a shame as I really have enjoyed doing this play and I really don't see why he's removing them.

I haven't read TKAM but I've heard it's really good and I also enjoyed OMAM.

And a lot of these stories come with good messages and provoke you to think about things. The Crucible was quite fun to write about and I assume the others would be as well.

Ugh it's really bugging me.

Also - there are already English texts in the syllabus. 25% of my literature GCSE was based on 'Romeo and Juliet'.

As the saying goes - if it ain't broke, don't fix it
I'm not saying don't try to improve any flaws in the system but this is drastic and it's basically taking a step backwards in my eyes.

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Jacob-C
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I studied Of Mice and Men for my GCSEs and it has a wide breadth of characters, all of whom represent various aspects of society. To think that teachers have poured all of their efforts into teaching something and then to be told they can't teach it anymore; it just shows how much Gove really values teachers. Mind you perhaps the message within OMAM of the cost that exploitative capitalism can have, is the real reason why Gove wants it banned.
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GCSEsitter
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Will it be replaced by some popular, more contemporary English writings... Kids would love to study Harry potter in class
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username207685
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(Original post by GCSEsitter)
Will it be replaced by some popular, more contemporary English writings... Kids would love to study Harry potter in class
No it will be replaced by British (read: English) literature from hundreds of years ago where half of the battle will be trying to understand what is being said before people even get on to why it is being said.

But it will be British, because that is important. Presumably.

Gove gonna Gove.
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by betaglucowhat)
No it will be replaced by British (read: English) literature from hundreds of years ago where half of the battle will be trying to understand what is being said before people even get on to why it is being said.

But it will be British, because that is important. Presumably.

Gove gonna Gove.
The more important question is why is this the business of government?

Think what St Margaret of Grantham would have said if someone had suggested that it was her job as Education Secretary to determine what were O level set books
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getjob5
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OMAM is a classic though
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interstitial
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It's not him that makes the decision, it's the exam boards :/
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tillytots
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It's a bad decision, but I think what's worse is that it will probably be replaced by the standard Bronte,Austen etc rather than the more innovative British authors. I did to kill a mockingbird for GCSE and it was great, still one of my favourites.
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tribiasfour
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Apparently he's dropping them because he "really disliked" American Literature when he was at school. There can be no justification for this. American literature doesn't detract from English, it makes it. American authors like Steinbeck and Lee also help educate students on the past, and on prejudices and how the author's life and opinions can affect the way a story is told. We should protest, genuinely, it's a travesty! Gove is such a tw*t.
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
The more important question is why is this the business of government?

Think what St Margaret of Grantham would have said if someone had suggested that it was her job as Education Secretary to determine what were O level set books
on a related note did you hear this http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03ynt6y already?
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Clip
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I did Of Mice and Men.

I found it to be totally irrelevant. Sure, Steinbeck was a great American author.

But we're not Americans. It doesn't have the same importance and same resonance to us. Why not have the Grapes of Wrath or Moby **** or The Red Badge of Courage? They just aren't important to us in the same way. We would only be pretending to know about the Dustbowl or American Race Politics - which would be rather self-indulgent of us really.

You could ask what relevance Pride & Prejudice has - well at least it was our Regency. It's all around us and we have constant reminders of it in our every day life, from Nelson's Column to Wellington Boots.

Shakespeare was our Bard. His head is on the money. We have his Globe in London. There is a connection there.

I'd understand if there were an absolute dearth of British literature - but there isn't.

And another thing - how many people even know what alfalfa is?
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(Original post by Clip)
I did Of Mice and Men.

I found it to be totally irrelevant. Sure, Steinbeck was a great American author.

But we're not Americans. It doesn't have the same importance and same resonance to us. Why not have the Grapes of Wrath or Moby **** or The Red Badge of Courage? They just aren't important to us in the same way. We would only be pretending to know about the Dustbowl or American Race Politics - which would be rather self-indulgent of us really.

You could ask what relevance Pride & Prejudice has - well at least it was our Regency. It's all around us and we have constant reminders of it in our every day life, from Nelson's Column to Wellington Boots.

Shakespeare was our Bard. His head is on the money. We have his Globe in London. There is a connection there.

I'd understand if there were an absolute dearth of British literature - but there isn't.

And another thing - how many people even know what alfalfa is?
hippies know what alfalfa is, they eat loads of it didn't you have many hippies at your school.

'relevence' is bull**** tbh - but we're closer to dustbowl america than to 11th century scotland (where the shakespere I had to do was set)... the end point of the relevence argument is that we should focus exclusively on novels about rather dull early C21st suburban dwellers with boring little lives because that's what most of us are tbh.

I don't think the point of studying lit should really be to reinforce the collective cultural identity of students and it's a rather embarrassing state of affairs if that's necessary (or even just considered necessary)
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
The more important question is why is this the business of government?

Think what St Margaret of Grantham would have said if someone had suggested that it was her job as Education Secretary to determine what were O level set books
Didn't she introduce the national curriculum?
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Geeky_Reader
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(Original post by Reluire)
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/ed...s-9432818.html

I think this is a huge shame. I don't understand why the literature studied at GCSE should have to be from British writers. Both of these books are classics which fit excellently into the GCSE syllabus; so what Gove hopes to achieve from abolishing them I don't quite know. It just seems like petty patriotism to modify the syllabus just for the sake of making it more British.
Its just one man squeezing his own personal opinion about a book into the syllabus, and as a result it's now gone. Please applaud the idiot who decreased our cultural understanding of foreign classics. I personally love American classics but it seems that this man wants to make our schools that little bit more British.:mad:
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Haza2012
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Just to be clear, the education department have not made it so that Of Mice and men and To kill and Mockingbird are removed from the english syllabuses, they have merely stated that in the new syllabuses there should be more english authors. There has been no specific removal of pieces of literature from exam board syllabuses and at the end of the day, it is the exam boards decision what literature they want to examine on. Furthermore, to my knowledge, it is just OCR GCSE english syllabus that the two mentioned books have been removed from, not across the board - and it's a draft - not even the approved thing yet.

In addition, why shouldn't students learn more about British authors? We have an excellent repertoire of literature written right here in England, why so much emphasis on overseas literature? I respect that we need to learn about other cultures etc, but we are not talking about removing all non-english made literature from the curriculum, there will be some pieces that were created by non-english people.

I think that Michael Gove is doing a good job, he is trying to make our education system more rigorous and trying to stop grade inflation like under the previous labour government. He has some great ideas about extending the school day to encompass more extracurricular activities, and i personally believe that the main reasons teachers are opposed to his changes is because they don't like change and it means more work for them. i respect that it is a hard job, but they must understand that everybody's job is hard and they have to adapt to create a better education that no-longer fails generations of students.

Also, people forget that some literature had to be removed from the past syllabuses to make room for Of Mice and Men etc. Syllabuses change. Deal with it. We can't have the same material being assessed all the time. I know it will cause disturbance and teachers will have to analyse new books etc, but at the end of the day, it can't stay the same forever. He is bringing more modern literature to the syllabuses worth authors that are still alive. He wants students to enjoy english, by using books that have been written by British authors still alive today - not authors that were American and are now dead - while Of Mice and Men etc was quite easy to analyse and write about at GCSE, it wasn't exactly an enjoyable read. Maybe thats just me
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wisedavo
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(Original post by nulli tertius)
The more important question is why is this the business of government?

Think what St Margaret of Grantham would have said if someone had suggested that it was her job as Education Secretary to determine what were O level set books
St Margaret of Grantham. Do you mean the wicked witch of Grantham?
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nulli tertius
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(Original post by Observatory)
Didn't she introduce the national curriculum?
She certainly played a full part in the idea of a National Curriculum and the Education Reform Act 1988. What then emerged was almost entirely Kenneth Baker's vision. It was highly prescriptive about what pupils spent their days doing (with far too much content for the available time-each interest group had lobbied for its wish list of the hours to be spent on its area and no-one lobbied to keep the teaching to the time available). What emerged wasn't very prescriptive about precisely what should be taught.
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anonest
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It's a bad decision, I never really liked OMAM but I would rather read it for GCSE than any other book.
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