Letter: A place for Shakespeare in schools

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The Independent Online
Sir: I welcome Bryan Appleyard's article of 16 March. The emotive response ('insulting', 'backward- looking', 'ridiculous', etc) from English teachers is no surprise to me, a teacher of some 30 years' experience. A rational response would require a certain discipline which is inimical to many secondary school English teachers.

Do parents know that the majority of these English teachers have no formal qualifications in English language above O-level? The latter are more interested in imaginative expressions and response than in fostering the use and appreciation of English for adult life.

Yes, reading is important. Why is it that the majority of secondary school pupils do not read books outside school? Why do so few adults acquire the reading habit? Anything to do with current teaching methods/programmes? If pupils do not come into contact with the great writers (including Shakespeare) at school, when will they?

Why are English teachers not able to accept, with their colleagues in science, history and French, that there is a difference between academic freedom and the whim of the individual teacher to choose to teach whatever suits his/her mood/interest?

Yours faithfully,

E. WILLIAMS

Altrincham, Cheshire

18 March

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