A critical analysis of the examining of poetry in the English First Language Higher Grade course at senior secondary level in Cape Education Department schools

Clarke, Linda Colleen (1993) A critical analysis of the examining of poetry in the English First Language Higher Grade course at senior secondary level in Cape Education Department schools. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

The study of poetry has become entrenched in most secondary school English syllabuses, including the English First Language Higher Grade syllabus of the Cape Education Department. This acceptance of poetry as a part of the formal academic programme has, however, been accompanied by a demand that could be considered contrary to the spirit of poetry: that an examination should conclude the study. The problem is exacerbated if this examination is set and controlled by an external body, since the nature and objectives of a standardised, mass examination frequently conflict sharply with the aims of studying poetry. The implications of such control over the examining of poetry go beyond this, however. These include the defining and narrowing of the course of study by means of lists of prescribed poems selected by a committee often far removed from the world of the candidates and the significant combined effect of these lists and the style of questioning adopted by the external examiners on methods of teaching. Furthermore, the influence of the external examination is not restricted to the final year of study; the approach to poetry during the entire senior secondary course (of three years) tends to conform to the pattern laid down by the final examination paper. This domination of the external examination over the study of poetry is acknowledged but not condoned. There is undoubtedly a need for further research into alternative ways of assessing a poetry course. In the face of reality, however, this study seeks to identify and analyse the many features of external control that influence the study of poetry; and to consider ways in which examinations in poetry can be devised, approached and used to the best effect in order to fulfil the aims of studying poetry. The most important of these aims are held to be the pleasure and enjoyment of personal engagement with a poem, where there is a meeting of minds, a generation and deepening of emotion and feeling, extension of awareness and stimulation of imagination.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Poetry, Secondary education, English, Curriculum, Cape Education Department, Examination
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Education > Education
Supervisors:Van der Mescht, Hennie
ID Code:3978
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:07 Nov 2012 06:30
Last Modified:07 Nov 2012 06:30
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