UK exam board 'drops' Mockingbird and Steinbeck after Gove reforms

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by jnpy!$4g3cwk, May 25, 2014.

  1. jnpy!$4g3cwk, May 25, 2014
    Last edited: May 25, 2014

    jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    #1
    http://www.bbc.com/news/education-27563466

    Funny, when I was in high school (in the U.S.), we studied several Shakespeare plays, To Kill a Mockingbird, Of Mice and Men, The Crucible, and, a selection of work by the Romantic poets, a Dickens novel, a selection of poetry since 1850, works by Mark Twain, Frost, Hemingway, and Salinger, and a lot more. The curriculum in question sounds pretty weak.
     
  2. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    The Mergui Archipelago
    #2
    It does seem a bit of a disappointment. Of Mice and Men and To kill a Mockingbird are such wonderful works. Although there is plenty of depth in English literature. Thinking of my teenage self I would rather have read the former than any Dickens though. It wasn't until my 20s that I really got into dickens and appreciated it.
     
  3. sviato macrumors 68020

    sviato

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2010
    Location:
    HR 9038 A
    #3
    Meh, no one in my class really liked To Kill a Mockingbird from what I remember
     
  4. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Location:
    Scotland
    #4
    Another example of British nationalism on the rise. It was already bad enough that UKIP got so much of the vote (27%) in the MEP elections, I am beginning to wonder seriously at the direction the UK is going.
     
  5. roadbloc macrumors G3

    roadbloc

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2009
    Location:
    UK
    #5
    I remember studying Of Mice and Men. One of the most pointless and boring books I've ever had the misfortune to read. For once, I agree with Gove for this. Slap some George Orwell in the curriculum, his works are much better.
     
  6. vrDrew macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2010
    Location:
    Midlife, Midwest
    #6
    The GCSE is a standardized series of tests given to British high school students. It is the replacement for the "O-Level" examinations that were usually the highest level of tests taken by non-University bound students.

    While Of Mice and Men and To Kill A Mockingbird are undoubted literary classics, they are essentially American works, dealing with uniquely American topics. Topics that, while interesting from an historical standpoint, don't have much bearing on modern British or European society. They are excellent books, but from a technical and literary standpoint they certainly don't exceed works by authors such as Ford Maddox Ford or Graham Greene - British authors whose work is also absent from the GSCE curriculum.

    Given the incredible depth and bread of literature and perry available in the English language, sometimes even very good works need to be left out of the core canon.
     
  7. Tsuchiya macrumors 68020

    Tsuchiya

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    #7
    It's a disappointing move. I remember reading Catcher in the Rye in class, and I'm glad because it wasn't the kind of book I would have picked up on my own and read.

    I wonder how many students would bother to read To Catch a Mockingbird if they weren't directed to do so? Now that's one book that everyone should read, and throwing it out for not being British...rubbish.
     
  8. AustinIllini macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #8
    It's a shame that "To Kill A Mockingbird" is being dropped. The message is still supremely important, particularly in Europe, where racism is like a dormant volcano.
     
  9. Technarchy macrumors 604

    Technarchy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    #9
    1984 is too biographical for modern England.

    Speaking only for myself, Steinbeck, is the greatest writer of the 20th century, but 1984 is the greatest novel of the 20th century.
     
  10. Mousse macrumors 68000

    Mousse

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2008
    Location:
    Flea Bottom, King's Landing
    #10
    Yeah, I was disappointed the first time I read it. Nowhere did you teach me HOW to kill a mockingbird.:p Talk about misleading titles.:D:D:D

    Fixed that for ya.:D
     
  11. jnpy!$4g3cwk thread starter macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    #11
    Well, if you don't know why you read something, then, I guess it was a waste. 1984 is a great book (we read it also), although other Orwell is under-read also, such as Homage to Catalonia, Coming up for Air, and several others. Orwell is clearly under-read and under-appreciated these days.

    They are English-language literature-- that should be enough. But, they are also socially relevant. I have no problem with adding Graham Greene, although we read one of my least favorites in school, The Power and the Glory.

    Sadly, there doesn't seem to be any place in the High School (i.e. ages 14-18) curriculum for most non-English literature. Camus, Boll, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and so on.
     
  12. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2004
    Location:
    "No escape from Reality..."
    #12
    We read Of Mice and Men and To Kill a Mockingbird in American Literature class, not English Literature class...
     
  13. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #13
    Whereas in America the far right party controls a House of Congress ;).

    Seriously though the reason people have voted for far right parties like UKIP here is because they are fed up with the namby pamby overly PC ******** led by the mainstream political parties - and the problem is that the far left parties (such as the Green party) aren't really any better than the mainstream parties.

    I mean lets face it UKIP wouldn't do introduce a 20 mph speed limit.
     
  14. AustinIllini macrumors demi-god

    AustinIllini

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2011
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #14
    We could honestly play a game called "Republican or European Official" and probably screw up most of the answers. European leaders and citizens are increasingly more racist, intolerant, and xenophobic.

    Seriously: Republican or European -

    “We feel tied to Christian values. Those who don’t accept them don’t have a place here.”
     
  15. Tsuchiya macrumors 68020

    Tsuchiya

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2008
    #15
    I'm sure they wouldn't even know how to go about it.

    Farage might talk a good game, but do you honestly believe UKIP know anything about running a country?
     
  16. Kissaragi macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    #16
    I had to check this wasn't a daily mash story when I first heard it, completely nuts.
     
  17. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2004
    Location:
    The Mergui Archipelago
    #17
    In australia we had an "english" class that studied all literature. Except australian lit. That was it. I didn't even know Patrick White existed or we had claimed him as our own ountil I left schol.
     
  18. jnpy!$4g3cwk thread starter macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2010
    #18
    This is Off Topic, but, I am guessing that the reason they put the limit at 20 mph is to encourage people to go 25 mph. This is mainly a question of interpreting speed limits-- when you say "20", do you mean "20", or "25", or "30", or "35"?

    Truthfully, it isn't always the speed per se that is the issue, though-- it is the refusal of speeders to slow down when safety requires it-- to step on their brakes when a child is crossing the street, when a bicycle is in danger of getting flattened, when another car is driving slowly for whatever reason. To recognize the right of other people to be safe. Don't like excessively low speed limits? Learn to step on the brake!

    More importantly, what would Orwell say about it? Where I live, most poor people drive at the speed limit in certain towns where the speed limits are enforced, and 5 mph over the limit in the other towns. Whereas, wealthy people in expensive cars tend to drive 5-10 mph over the limit most of the time, and, even more over in places where they know they can afford a normal speeding ticket and won't be given the super-bad ticket. Orwell understood "class" perfectly.
     
  19. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #19
    By and large the speed limits in Britain have been relatively sensible in the past and have generally been respected. We used to have 30 mph limits in towns which people used to obey. Now some of them have been reduced to 20 mph which are widely ignored by everyone but learner drivers.

    That happens a bit here too, although in towns virtually everyone sticks to 30mph.

    ----------

    Agreed, but I doubt they'd introduce the speed limit if they did know how to run a country.

    ----------

    The thing that frustrates me is when you're driving on a road was built to a high enough standard to do 70 mph safely (e.g. this one) which they've then stuck a 50 mph limit on and then you get stuck behind some moron doing 40 mph. Then if there's a reasonable amount of traffic you aren't going to be able to get past them, even though you might well be able to go nearly twice as fast as they are going.

    To be fair the road in the example has the standard speed limit of 60 mph, and that is probably reasonable enough on such a road, but there are plenty of other fairly similar roads with a limit of 50 mph for no apparent reason.
     
  20. Technarchy macrumors 604

    Technarchy

    Joined:
    May 21, 2012
    #20
    Are they removing the Iliad as well? Beowulf? The Divine Comedy?
     
  21. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2009
    Location:
    Scotland
    #21
    English is a language, not a country. Gove is a prat who knows less about education than most politicians, and that says a lot.

    Removing novels because they're American rather than British makes about as much sense as teaching Spanish and focusing only on the Old World, ignoring the literature coming out of South America. It's myopic and nationalistic. If Gove wants more British works in the curriculum, then he could have added them without deleting the American works. What a tragedy it would be to make the students read more....
     
  22. VI™ macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2010
    Location:
    Shepherdsturd, WV
    #22
    What would be nice is if the schools included more modern works rather than an all classical literature genre. I absolutely hated reading everything Jane Austin and books like Heart of Darkness were hard getting through as well. Not because of reading difficulty, but because of the the shear boredom I had to suffer through. And don't get me wrong, I'm not a classical literature hater. I've read books like The Jungle and H.P. Lovercraft's works on my own time. I think if they had at least a few more modern books in the reading list, it would help to keep the attentions of the school kids a bit more.
     
  23. Kissaragi macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    #23
    I completely agree, the education system really doesn't make it easy for kids to get into english.
     
  24. gkarris macrumors 604

    gkarris

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2004
    Location:
    "No escape from Reality..."
    #24
    For my school district in the US, at least, it pertains to country, not language...
     
  25. Bug-Creator macrumors 6502

    Bug-Creator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2011
    Location:
    Germany
    #25
    Dunno maybe the fact that those students ability to be thought is not infinitv ?

    Or the fact that some literatur might be a good idea, but that there are also other classes far more important ?
     

Share This Page