Selective amnesia and the political act of remembering English teaching

Pitfield, Maggie; Gilbert, Francis; Asamoah Boateng, Claudia and Stanger, Camilla. 2023. Selective amnesia and the political act of remembering English teaching. Pedagogy, Culture & Society, 31(5), pp. 1059-1077. ISSN 1468-1366 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

In this article the authors explore the phenomenon of ‘selective amnesia’ as it relates to education. We define this as a politically engineered loss of collective memory, both curricular and pedagogic, which has adversely affected what teachers and teacher-educators do. Through an intergenerational dialogue between four secondary English teachers/teacher-educators, we invoke the power of memory to explore alternatives to currently dominant narratives in English teaching. Our starting point is ‘what exactly has been forgotten?’1 From there we move on to consider the underlying principles and values of the different model of English that emerges from our collective memory, and discuss how this might engage with policy in order to identify new forms and ideas. We propose that, for those involved in English teaching and teacher education in the here and now, memory has both a critical and motivational role to play.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


Selective amnesia; memory; English teaching; teacher education; autoethnographic interrogation

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Educational Studies


17 August 2021Accepted
27 October 2021Published Online

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

29 Oct 2021 10:36

Last Modified:

21 Aug 2023 13:47

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


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