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Literacy - 2022 - Kneen - Teaching Key Stage 3 literature the challenges of accountability gender and diversity.pdf (1.15 MB)

Teaching Key Stage 3 literature: the challenges of accountability, gender and diversity

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posted on 2022-05-23, 17:02 authored by Judith Kneen, Susan Chapman, Joan Foley, Lucy Kelly, Lorna Smith, Helena Thomas, Annabel Watson

 This article presents the results of a study, conducted inparts of Wales and southwest England, focusing onwhat literature is being taught to learners aged11–14 years. By exploring this area, we gain insightinto influences on teacher choices and the challengesfaced by teachers. Our research, which included a sur-vey of over 170 teachers as well as teacher interviews,provides a snapshot of young people’s experiencesstudying literature in the early secondary years (KeyStage 3). The results show that while some schools pro-vide variety and diversity in their choice of texts andauthors, the majority provide a limited diet of litera-ture with texts mainly from male writers, with maleprotagonists. Girls are rarely the main focus. Nor dothe majority of children study literature written by orabout those from black and minority ethnic back-grounds, highlighting a lack of diversity. Literatureteaching at Key Stage 3 is increasingly influenced bythe demands of GCSE and exam accountability. Wehope the study can act as a catalyst for discussionabout what ought to be the purpose and focus of liter-ature study in England, Wales and beyond 


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Kneen, J., Chapman, S., Foley, J., Kelly, L., Smith, L., Thomas, H., & Watson, A. (2022). Teaching Key Stage 3 literature: the challenges of accountability, gender and diversity. Literacy.

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  • Cardiff School of Education and Social Policy

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  • en

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