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Sunday, July 27, 2008

Canadian Books in Canadian Schools (About Time)

Thanks to Matt Staggs for this link.
It won't just be teenagers reading Canadian literature this fall when a new curriculum requires B.C. high school English teachers to assign at least one Canadian book per year, says the new chairman of the Writers' Union of Canada.
I admit my ignorance of this. I was unaware that Canadian schools weren't assigning works of Canadian literature to be taught in their English classes, which sort of worries me. Now, I can't say I know any great classic Canadian writers (I know of Robert J. Sawyer, but he's relatively new, so I wouldn't consider him a part of the classic structure just yet). There are obviously plenty of American works and British works, and I imagine those works already get taught great frequency.
My only complaint, or potential point of contention, would be if the works that are taught aren't actually good works and are simply chosen because they happen to be Canadian. All the works chosen should be good and of literary value. The value, of course, would have to be determined by the schools. I'm not saying that the kids should be reading nothing but old stuff, but they should be exposed to works that have something to say as opposed to works that have very little to say. I wouldn't subject American children to the large quantity of relatively pointless stuff floating out there that gets more attention than it deserves; likewise, I don't think Canadian children should get the same treatment.
But that's my opinion on that matter.

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