Understanding yourself and how your experiences influence your approaches to mentoring
This chapter seeks to ask English Teachers to think carefully about their own genuine views about English, how they formed to those views and how they will influence their role as a mentor. It looks at the ‘big picture’, the really formative influences on the subject and how its rich and complex history plays out in the daily practice of teachers. When J. Dixon coined the quicksilver characterisation he also discussed the purposes of English. One was the idea of the Literary Heritage, something that has continued to dominate teaching English since the 1920s, and adult literacy, often called Adult Needs–that is the need for adults to function in the world, to read and write and communicate as responsible and active citizens. English is always engaging with the real lives of students. ‘Literacy’, like school subject ‘English’ is harder to define than parents and politicians like to think. English teachers, research demonstrates, struggle with their relationship to popular culture.