English Teachers in a Postwar Democracy

Emerging Choice in London Schools, 1945-1965
by Peter Medway, John Hardcastle, Georgina Brewis and David Cook (2014)


Denys Thompson: Culture and Environment: The Training of Critical Awareness (1933)

Thompson's course book for schools: Reading and Discrimination

Percival Gurrey and James Britton

Gurrey: The Appreciation of Poetry - " his primary concern was not literary criticism but the processes involved in responding to literature. Following Coleridge and Richards he held that “[t]he appreciation of poetry is not primarily a critical activ- ity, it is creative”79 and that (quoting Empson) “[t]he process of getting to understand a poem is precisely that of constructing his poem in one’s mind.”80 (The quotation is firmly underlined in Britton’s copy of Gurrey’s book.) The development by children of their own first-hand responses was an active process of construction. He cited Percy Nunn, Principal of the LDTC: “To lead pupils to ‘appreciate’ is not merely to lead them to admire or to take pleasure in a beautiful thing, but to make them become in a sense its re-creators.”81 This was a crucial insight behind the reforms to English in our period." (p33)

1950s English textbook: