Term is starting – and English schools must tackle their arts emergenc – AuthenticAfrican

Posted on by Michael Rosen

The popularity of subjects such as English literature has fallen dramatically. As a new school year begins, it’s time for a rethink

A new school year is about to begin. This means that I might soon arrive at a school and do a poetry workshop with some younger teenagers. It could well go like this. They make it clear that they don’t like poetry. I tell them poetry comes in hundreds of different shapes, sizes, rhythms and moods; one way we can make poems is in a group and without writing anything down. For example, the people who are in charge of us in life have ways of showing they are fed up with us, angry with us, or through which they try to control us; punish us, even. What do such people say? I suggest they go into pairs and say these kinds of things to each other – in role, as parents, teachers, carers. We select the best lines. Then I say, can we create this into a scene? They suggest that all the lines should be said to just one of them sitting in a chair; the rest stand in a semicircle around him, and as they each say their line they point at the boy in the chair and then step back, while the semicircle repeats a chosen chorus.

Related: Why are children forced to choose between the arts? The Ebacc must go | Bob and Roberta Smith

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