Nonsense Poetry in Schools

A controversy seems to have been raised by the Ofsted report on poetry in schools, which maintains that British pupils are not prepared to appreciate classic poetry because of a focus on a few poems, which are considered not “genuinely challenging.”

When it comes to citing these supposedly unstimulating poems, newspapers, in particular the Times that started it all and Reuters, have chosen to emphasize nonsense such as Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” and Edward Lear’s “The Owl and the Pussy-cat.”

While the report itself does not sound so negative as the newspapers have chosen to make it appear, see the summary, it seems to me that the problem is not so much nonsense poetry, which might also be considered too challenging, as the lack of variety. On the other hand, the fact that the same poems are chosen in most schools simply means that teachers prefer to support an established canon: not necessarily a bad thing, in my opinion, unless it is the result of indolence.

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