Should high school reading lists be more relevant to today's kids?
Sunday on Cross Country Checkup: Shaking the Shakespeare habit
Is it time to dump the Bard? Some school boards think so. In a move to make English classes more relevant to today's students, many are opting for an updated and more diverse reading list. But does relevance mean dropping some of the classics?
What do you think? Doth they protest too much? Would a newer reading list still smell as sweet?
More from this episode:
Send us your suggestions: What book should be taught in every high school?
- 'Kids can't live on literary Twinkies alone': What kids should be reading in classrooms
This autumn, the Peel School Board in Ontario asked its teachers to reconsider teaching classics such as Romeo and Juliet, To Kill A Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies in favour of more "culturally relevant" texts. An Ottawa high school has taken Shakespeare completely off the grade 11 reading list, to focus exclusively on Indigenous authors. And the Alberta government is currently reviewing its entire curriculum to better reflect diversity.
What do you think is it time to dump the Bard and other classics? Student bodies in Canada are more and more diverse - will new voices ensure English lit classes resonate with today's students? Would an updated reading list improve attendance or graduation rates amongst Indigenous and minority students? Or do you think the literary canon has educational value no matter in what era those books were written?
Our question this week: Should high school reading lists drop some classics to be more relevant to kids today?
High school English teacher and department head at Jean Augustine Secondary School in Brampton, Ont.
Associate Director with the Peel District school Board in Mississauga, Ont.
Drama critic for the National Post newspaper
Former high school teacher and now Associate Professor at OISE - the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education
Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation at the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy University of Saskatchewan
- Ottawa English teacher gives Bard the boot in favour of Indigenous writers
- Should high schools drop Shakespeare?
- CBC Books: 12 Canadian books that should be taught in every high school
- Metro Morning: Changing face of Peel Region school reading lists
The Globe and Mail
- Ontario school board promotes literature diversity to reflect student body
- Canadian high schools taking in more international students, boards say
The National Post
- Ontario school board tosses Shakespeare for indigenous writers
- Shakespeare's language was so pithy and ahead of its time that it still peppers our everyday speech
Alberta Teachers' Association