chapter  9
10 Pages

Only write down what you need to know

Annotation for what?

The annotation of texts of all kinds is a key practice in English. An annotated text can be seen as a direct pedagogic link between the actualization of English in the classroom and its official (re)production via an examination. We analyse two examples of annotation in two classrooms in two schools in order to describe how the teachers’ deployment of annotation constitutes what the text comes to be, through notions of ‘textual meaning’ developed largely implicitly in that practice. That meaning in its turn positions students (and teachers) to English as a subject. Both examples are from lessons focused on ‘wider reading’, at the end of which students write a comparative essay on two short stories. In both our examples issues of student agency and curricular control are explored, and the link between annotation and examination is made apparent. In this way ‘annotation of texts’ becomes another lens through which we view the central question of this book ‘How does English come to be as it is in a specific classroom?’