“But I’m going to be a video game designer!” protests one of my Grade 10 English students. “I don’t need to be able to read novels or write essays.”
The way the game is rigged right now, in order to gain admission to a reputable video game design program in a traditional post-secondary institution, one must have a high English mark, still the one Grade 12 credit that almost all post-secondary programs require. In order to get that high mark, you must be good at reading big books and writing long essays. The fact that you are a computer whiz who can already design video games won’t help you if you don’t have the stickers that school gives out.
There are two ways to resolve this tension: Lower the standards in English class so the poor kid can go and make video games, or stop the mandatory study of English at, say, Grade 10. For many kids, the only thing they learn in Grade 11 or 12 English class is to hate it even more. —