Thursday 5 November 2015

"No private reading in English allowed"

A Letter I received:

"Dear Michael Rosen

I am writing to you because I am so concerned with what is happening in a secondary school of my acquaintance.I used to be a Head of English there some years ago and we always had one lesson devoted to private reading in Years 7-10. For the good reader, such lessons are of course a delight. The teacher can model enjoyment of reading by reading herself, or can use the time to help a struggling reader.

However a friend of mine has told me that private reading has now been 'banned' in English lessons.

Senior Management has decreed that there must be no private reading in English lessons. Reading aloud is permissible (on occasion) but the teacher must be active and teaching at all times in the lesson and private reading can only be set for homework. The educational and enjoyment benefits of private reading in class are completely ignored.Any teacher 'caught' allowing students to read quietly on their own may be subjected to disciplinary measures.

I obviously can't name the school or give you my friend's name. I am sure you will be horrified by this policy. To downgrade private reading in this way is disgraceful.Why not trust English teachers to know what is best for their students? I hope you will be able to give this issue some publicity.

I can't give you my name (to protect my friend) but I assure you that all these reported remarks are genuine."