Chapter 1: The Art of Teaching English Next Chapter

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The Art of Teaching English
The art of teaching english
Teaching English: Painting the Picture or Copying the Diagram?

I think aesthetic teaching is the highest of all teaching because it deals with life in its highest complexity. But if it ceases to be purely aesthetic – if it lapses anywhere from the picture to the diagram – it becomes the most offensive of all teaching. (George Eliot, 1866/1967: 9–10).

In arguing that ‘the highest of all teaching’ is essentially aesthetic (creative, imaginative, visionary and inspirational), George Eliot strikes a chord with English teachers who currently find their work being increasingly characterized as straightforwardly instructional and more akin to the ‘diagram’ than the ‘picture’. Eliot does not hesitate to designate such educational practice ‘the most offensive of all ...

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