Teach Postcolonial Literature in Secondary Schools

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Please sign this petition to help to educate secondary school students about colonialism, imperialism, race, culture, ethnicity and identity.

 

According to The Department for Education, the purpose of study in KS4 English is as follows:

"English has a pre-eminent place in education and in society. [...] Through reading in particular, pupils have a chance to develop culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually. Literature, especially, plays a key role in such development. Reading also enables pupils both to acquire knowledge and to build on what they already know. All the skills of language are essential to participating fully as a member of society" (2014).

Although the vast majority of this criteria is met successfully, we may question what more we can do to encourage a child to develop 'culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually'. The answer to this question is to diversify our curriculum. One crucial way in which we can do this is to teach post-colonial texts to secondary school students.

Post-colonial literature is based around imperialism and colonialism. It often explores themes surrounding the representation of ethnicity, culture, race and identity; and is mainly set after the period that many colonised countries achieved their independence. This is unfortunately an area of literature that is underrepresented at this level of learning. 

This will be a particularly beneficial area to teach GCSE students as these texts not only explore key, historically significant events surrounding colonisation and imperialism but they allow students to empathise with the colonised individuals within the texts and aid a further understanding of the complex concept of human identity.

 Furthermore, these texts will hopefully educate students to a greater degree by allowing a unique insight to modern day issues that unfortunately still continue surrounding racism, segregation and discrimination. Ultimately, this will allow them to grow 'culturally, emotionally, intellectually, socially and spiritually' as they exercise this knowledge within the world in which they live at an early age. 

In the words of Roger Lewin, 'Too often we give children answers to remember rather than problems to solve'.