English is a subject concerned with communication as well as content. In English lessons, pupils learn a range of language and learning skills and study a wide range of literature, much of which may be relevant to global learning.
English teaches a critical approach to language. Young people need to learn the language of discourse, criticism, argument and persuasion and modes of language that foster change and development in the world. Pupils need to also understand and appreciate how language can be used to excuse, obfuscate divert and hoodwink, for language and power are always connected.
English is a cosmopolitan language. Spoken by far more people outside these shores than in the British Isles, English is a magpie language, borrowing and being enriched throughout its history as it comes into contact with new cultures and in turn being adapted and developed where it is spoken beyond the UK. And whilst the learning of an additional language is a valuable tool, the ubiquitous nature of English enables pupils to communicate with their peers around the world.
English has a cosmopolitan literature. This means that the literature presented to pupils should reflect that global dimension, present different ways of viewing and interrogating their world, and avoid parochialism.
English is a creative subject in both spoken and written form. Creative and expressive modes of language tell the world a great deal about the social, economic and political conditions under which people live. Art and literature is a response – sometimes the most powerful response possible – to illiberal governments and unjust conditions. Narrative, satire, theatre and poetry all have long heritages in both expressing and communicating the realities of injustice to an outside world.
English encourages compassion: through a range of activities from reading and drama to exchanges with pupils in other countries, pupils enlarge their understanding of others. Empathy and imagination are key aspects of literature.
English has a comprehensive approach to the development of pupils’ language, understanding and feeling. This takes place through a wide range of activities from discussion and role play to personal writing and immersion in literature.
Recommended reading and resources
This GLP news piece for International Literacy Day includes links to resources and reading about literacy and global learning.
Three Key Stage 2 and three Key Stage 3 case studies are available to show how global learning can contribute to learning in English.
The programmes of study for English in the national curriculum can be found here: National curriculum in England: English programmes of study.
The Key Stage 3 GLP resource, More or less equal includes activities, resource sheets, Powerpoint® documens and comprehensive teachers' notes with clear briefings to support subject knowldge.
The English and geography resource, Case study – Stories from Haiti, can be used with both Key Stages 2 and 3.