Learning English in London, 1946-1964: a personal account of a comprehensive education (FORUM 3)

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Publication date: September 1, 2015

BERNARD BARKER

This account of the author’s learning to read, write, speak and listen was inspired by English teachers in a post-war democracy, and by the discovery that Eltham Green School, the original of his comprehensive experiences, had ceased to exist. The author believed the theme of learning English would help him write more coherently than before about the tensions in post-war education between innovation and tradition. The story extends beyond secondary lessons and their supposed consequences, however, and explores the complex interactions of parent, family and teacher influences. The author concludes that teachers often underestimate the scale of the task before them because they so much wish to overcome the social and cultural differences between children.

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