Researching the Teaching of Literature
During 14 years of teaching secondary English (11-18) in comprehensive schools, I became particularly interested in aspects of teaching sixth form English. In particular, I was inspired by the new possibilities that the International Baccalaureate English programme offered at this level, and interested by the issues raised by the different teaching and learning implications of A Level and IB syllabuses. In seeking to develop my thinking, I eventually enrolled on a PhD at the Institute of Education, which I completed between 2003 and 2008. I chose then to return to part-time sixth form teaching in order to put unto practice some of the ideas I had worked on. I am now also a Curriculum Tutor at Oxford University, and continue to write about and research aspects of post-16 English teaching and the teaching of literature more generally.
Links to pdfs of my doctoral thesis and related articles may be found below. In the right hand column are details of published books and book chapters.
Writing about the Teaching of Literature
In addition to the journal articles listed to the left, I have published one book and a number of book chapters, detailed below.
Teaching English Literature 16-19
By Carol Atherton, Andrew Green and Gary Snapper, Routledge, 2013
'This new book represents a major step forward in the teaching of English Literature at 16-19... Principled, persuasive and packed with great teaching ideas... an essential handbook for anyone teaching English in the sixth form today'
Sean McEvoy, Varndean Sixth Form College, Brighton, author of Shakespeare: the Basics (Routledge).
With chapters on teaching poetry, the novel, drama, theory, context and writing, the book attempts to provide a comprehensive vision for the teaching of advanced English literature in schools and colleges in the 21st century.
International Perspectives on the Teaching of Literature in Schools
Teaching Literature: Text and Dialogue in the English Classroom
Making Poetry Matter
Edited by Sue Dymoke, Andrew Lambirth and Anthony Wilson, Bloomsbury 2013
Exploring Resistance to Poetry in Advanced English Studies
'Drawing on my research into advanced literature teaching, as well as experiences with students, teachers and lecturers, this chapter seeks to explore the nature of this advanced level resistance [to poetry], examining some of its manifestations in high school and university English, and reflecting on the ways in which it might be related to broader issues in the constitution of literary study in schools and universities.'
International Perspectives on Teaching English in a Globalised World
Edited by Andrew Goodwyn, Louann Reid and Cal Durrant, Routledge, 2013
Student, Reader, Critic, Teacher: Issues and Identities in Post-16 English Literature
'This chapter briefly outlines recent debates and developments in the relationship between high school and university English in the UK, before giving an account of a case study of transition between the two, and reflecting on some of the issues about teaching and learning in literary study which emerge from the project.'
Becoming A Reflective English Teacher
Edited by Andrew Green, Open University Press, 2011
Teaching Post-16 English
'This chapter ... examines some of the issues facing students and teachers when engaging in English post-16 (whether in A Level courses, the International Baccalaureate (I.B.) diploma or Scottish Highers), placing them particularly in the context of developments in thinking about post-16 English which have informed recent changes at A Level. It also suggests a range of pedagogic approaches which might be employed to tackle some of those issues.'
The International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme: An Introduction for Teachers and Managers
Edited by Tim Pound, Routledge, 2005
Marked for Life? Progression from the International Baccalaureate
'This chapter ... presents a commentary on the testimonies of ten of my ex-students which point to ways in which studying for the [IB] diploma may distinctly affect their later lives, and which offer a closer look at the nature of the IB as it is experienced by students, and at how IB students form a distinct identity.'
Articles in English Drama Media
Pdfs of these articles may be found below.
2006: Beyond Dead Poet's Society: Developing Literary Awareness at A Level
2008: Voices Across Borders: Devolving English Literature in Schools
2011: From School to University: Travels between Sixth Form and University English
2011: Theoretically Speaking: Teaching Literary Theory in the New A Levels
Beyond Dead Poet's Society:
Developing Literary Awareness at A Level
Gary Snapper examines some of the tensions underlying the teaching of A Level English Literature and suggests some ways in which they might be resolved.
Voices Across Borders:
Devolving English Literature in Schools
Gary Snapper gives an account of the experience of teaching Scottish and African literature in the
International Baccalaureate, arguing that the teaching of literature should pay greater attention to issues of literature, culture and politics.
From School to University:
Travels between Sixth Form and University English
Gary Snapper reflects on classroom experiences and recent debates
which led him to explore the relationship between school and university
English, and on what he found when he followed a group of A Level Literature students to university.
Teaching Literary Theory in the New A Levels
Literary theory has, since 2008, for the first time become a formal element of an A Level syllabus. Barbara Bleiman, Jake Lund and Gary Snapper reflect on teaching theory at this level and explore some of the lessons learnt from the first three years.