Teachit Staffroom Roundup-Hot Topics

By Smith, Alison | NATE Classroom, Autumn 2008 | Go to article overview

Teachit Staffroom Roundup-Hot Topics


Smith, Alison, NATE Classroom


Education for Leisure

What a way to end the summer holidays and start the new year! AQA's decision to remove the Carol Ann Duffy poem 'Education for Leisure' from the Anthology was met with howls of horror by the occupants of the staffroom; so much so that there were two threads devoted to this one topic. The general consensus was that this was far from a good idea, with both teachers and students finding it incredible that a poem in which a goldfish and a fly are killed is removed, whilst ones which refer to hitchhikers being beaten to death or containing reasonably graphic sexual imagery are not. In more than one school, it seems that this has actually caused more teaching of the poem rather than less, with teachers using the AQA letter, the poem and some of the staffroom discussions to provoke interesting debate for Speaking and Listening, or as 'writing to argue' practice. As one student put it '[The decision] was both ill-considered and irresponsible. To remove the poem is nothing more than an attempt to cover up the reasons for knife crime. The poem allows young people to see into the mind of a killer and understand what motivates someone to want to kill, which is something we need to do in order to discuss issues like knife crime. …

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