English for an era of instability

Aesthetics, ethics, creativity and design 1

Authored by: Gunther Kress

The Routledge International Handbook of Creative Learning

Print publication date:  July  2011
Online publication date:  July  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415548892
eBook ISBN: 9780203817568
Adobe ISBN: 9781136730047


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English cannot be thought about seriously other than as a part of the entire school curriculum and of its fullest purposes. That in turn cannot be thought about other than in the context of the widest economic, social and cultural considerations. Along with many others, I part company with current directions in asking the questions about the curriculum not from a political but from a social and cultural point of view. A political view has to take the purposes of the state into consideration; and that is where we can locate the desire for ‘authority’. A state that has lost control of the national economy will need to assert control in some other domain. It can do so at the administrative and social level, as in the instance above; or it can attempt to do so at the cultural level, in determining curricula, for instance in respect to the valued texts to be taught as defining a national culture; or of the (standard form of the) language to be used or required in instruction. In a political approach, the question around curriculum and pedagogy is shaped by the needs of the state, first and foremost: ‘What form of education will guarantee the requirements for authority and control?’

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