in Schooling the National Imagination

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780198062752
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080205 | DOI:

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This concluding chapter suggests that the metaphor of standing undecided sums up the entire question of English in India. In the ideological, nationalist project of State-produced textbooks, what is represented as worth knowing, veers towards the homogeneous, and, despite enlightened new policies, is uncomfortable with alternative identities or complex categories of being. However well-written such textbooks are, such a project pushes in the direction of unitary definitions and simplifies complex cultural differences into stereotypes. It engenders a conspiracy of pedagogic silence in which we deny the reality of varied language proficiency and de facto leave English in the hands of the elite. To teach either English or, indeed, new and progressive forms of citizenship and belonging, we need a more realistic understanding of the varying needs of students, and a much more imaginative resolution of the pedagogic challenges that result from such diversity.

Keywords: English studies; English curriculum; India; textbooks; pedagogy

Chapter.  4519 words. 

Subjects: Sociology

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