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Palgrave Macmillan

English Teachers in a Postwar Democracy

Emerging Choice in London Schools, 1945-1965

ISBN 9781137005137
Publication Date July 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Series Secondary Education in a Changing World

In the twenty years after the Second World War, English society experienced opposing positions, particularly among teachers of English, regarding the education of Britain's youth. Different attitudes to achieving a fully democratic society were explored, whether by cultivating high standards in the ablest students or promoting a common cultural experience across abilities and social classes. The authors have studied in unprecedented detail three London school English departments, one of them an early comprehensive school, using oral history interviews and the collection and analysis of a large body of documents, including teachers' mark books and students' work. This move towards a more inclusive version of English involved not only the teachers in the comprehensive schools, but also some in the grammar schools—shaping the ideas of those who would found a new London English teachers association.

Peter Medway is Senior Visiting Research Fellow at King's College London, UK.

John Hardcastle is Lecturer in English Studies at the Institute of Education, University of London, UK.

Georgina Brewis is John Adams Fellow at the Institute of Education, University of London, UK.
David Crook is Lecturer in the History of Education, University of London, UK.

1. Introduction
2. The Period, the Education System, and the Teaching of English
3. Hackney Downs
4. Walworth
5. Minchenden
6. The Three Schools - What We Have Learned
7. Conclusions


"English Teachers in a Postwar Democracy is a fascinating tale of British school reform starting in the aftermath of World War II in London, when central education authority was at its nadir. I can think of no book that better elucidates the origins of education reform in the classrooms of gifted teachers than this outstanding and invaluable work. I recommend it highly and without reservation as a must read for the entire English education community, teachers, researchers, and educational authorities alike.' - Martin Nystrand, Louise Durham Mead Professor of English Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA, and Professor of Education Emeritus, Wisconsin Center for Education Research
"This is a rare opportunity to read about the origins of English as it is practiced in classrooms today. The authors explore the memories of English teaching with interviews of teachers of the day, some notable—such as Harold Rosen and John Dixon. They also consider records of the former schools, school architecture, exercise books, and interviews with former pupils. The intricate mixture of sources lends fascinating detail to the history of English teaching in postwar democracy." - Bethan Marshall, Senior Lecturer in English Education, King's College London, UK
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