Saturday, April 23, 2011

Back from IFTE conference in Auckland

One wonders why a person would put themselves through the trauma and exhaustion of nominating themselves for both the delivery of a workshop and a paper at a conference. Over-achiever? Perhaps, but I think if you love something it is important to spread the word about why and what you love. English teachers are presumed to be a stuffy lot and I'm sure there are some who fit that role well. (As a school student I think I had one teacher who wasn't stuffy!) But when you hear them talk about their subject it becomes pretty obvious they love it. The words, the books, the social nature of the English classroom.

At the moment my biggest concern for subject English is the notion that we can quantify, through league tables, and standards what English can teach them. English is one of the humanities which is far more complicated than measuring the uses of a literary grammar. I am astounded at the retrograde discussions in the newspapers (an archaic text if ever there was one) about returning to some halcyon days of education where grammar made the world a better place. It didn't. I learned grammar at school and teaching it in isolation for a test designed to marginalise students seems so sad. Anyway when I process what's happening in my mind about where we should be moving in English I'll write more.

It was a good conference.

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