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Special Interest Group

English in Education

The English in Education SIG is a forum for researchers to investigate what is a broad and complex area of knowledge: our starting point is the school subject of English, but we embrace many aspects of the subject as it exists in all phases of education, and we include all elements of initial teacher training concerned with English teachers. English includes the four language modes, reading, writing, speaking and listening which can be addressed separately but can also be treated as elements of the holistic subject; it embraces literacy but literacy of an emancipatory and critical kind.

English pays particular attention to the teaching of language in schools. There are certain linguistic elements that tend to get high profile attention, such as grammar and spelling, and the scope extends to the kind of linguistics taught in English Language ‘A’ level. There is also a very strong focus on texts of all kinds: literary texts especially, but also visual and multimodal texts, including ‘viewing’ in a broad sense, sometimes called Media Education. These areas shade into digital literacy and uses of technology. There is a continuous and fierce debate about what constitutes English now, but also it has a problematic history as a subject and an always contested and developing future. English is viewed as a key school subject in many countries, and in the UK it shares many commonalities with both international subject English, and with mother tongue education everywhere. The SIG therefore has a very important international and comparative dimension. Whatever else, it is a subject that needs much more research and evidence to support what is truly good practice in the teaching and studying of English.

The English in Education SIG connects usefully with other associations – both research e.g. AERA, EERA and professional e.g. NATE, UKLA and The English Association and also the International Association for Research into L1 teaching. Our events often draw together research, policy and practice, as we are committed to both advancing research within our academic communities, and to supporting the research-engagement of teachers, policy-makers and the wider community linked to English in education.

SIG Convenors

Profile picture of John Gordon
John Gordon, Dr

Reader in Education at University of East Anglia

I am Reader in English Education at the University of East Anglia, Norwich. I am an experienced English teacher educator, and came into teaching as a secondary-phase specialist in English and Media up to A-level. I currently lead a professional...

Profile picture of Andy Goodwyn
Andy Goodwyn, Professor

Professor at University of Reading

I taught English in secondary schools for 10 years, spending 1 year teaching in the USA. I became PGCE English course leader at The University of Reading in 1988, course leader of the MA in English and Language in Education in 1990, Head of...

Content associated with this SIG

BERA Conference 2023 – Call for Abstract Reviewers

6 Feb 2023 - 17 Feb 2023

Would you be willing to act as a reviewer for abstracts submitted to the BERA Annual Conference 2023? To be involved, you will need to: be a BERA Member be available to referee abstracts...

Upcoming event

Books and belonging

3 Nov 2022 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

This webinar explores relationships between books and belonging across primary and secondary phases of education. In 2020, Penguin Books UK and equality think tank The Runnymede Trust established...

Upcoming event