Shared Subject Knowledge? English across school, university and PGCE

Chair: Richard Storer, Leeds Trinity University

Panellists:

Rachel Rudman, Leeds Trinity University

Marcello Giovanelli, Aston University

This panel will explore some of the theoretical and practical implications of the idea that there is a shared body of ‘subject knowledge’ across the different levels at which English is studied.

It will draw partly on insights from the ‘Pathway to PGCE’ project at Leeds Trinity University, which aims to develop stronger links between undergraduate study and teacher training as a way of preparing students for a successful PGCE application and teaching career after their first degree.

Formal specifications for qualifications in English, across all levels, routinely refer to ‘subject knowledge’ as if it was something continuous, shared and measurable. Yet this notion is often problematized in other contexts. In a first-year undergraduate module, for example, the emphasis is more likely to be on generating productive discontinuities between school and university knowledge (‘forget what you learned at A-level . . . ‘). This may have its good effects, but then what knowledge should students who want to return to school as teachers carry forward to their training? Do schools and universities have a responsibility towards a shared subject knowledge? Or are they really involved in quite separate enterprises, which only by historical accident share the same title of ‘English’?

The panel will include some practical reflections on what kind of subject knowledge is necessary for a successful PGCE student; and consider the role played by textbooks and their authors in defining subject knowledge.

Friday 7th July, 9.30