Just finished reading Educating Rita a few days ago for Standard English Module C: Into the World. I was quite surprised by how funny and heart warming this play it! It’s a short play, but, because of the way it’s structured, it actually spans over a longer time and quite cleverly fills in the narrative gaps through conversation or hints.
What I think students will particularly like about this text is that, like them, Rita is a student who struggles to grasp the education system. There are some criticisms of the education system, which appears to ‘churn’ out clones who all write the same essays (with the answers that the markers want) and who abandon their own thoughts about a text. This is the frustration that Rita talks about and which a lot of students, I think, seem to also feel at times. For example, when Frank says that the clever answer is not the correct answer. There’s also interesting high/low culture arguments or discussion like Frank saying: But you seem to be under the impression that all books are literature. Rita asks, Aren’t they? Frank replies, No.
Aside from these interesting ideas about literature, education and culture, the characters themselves are very funny, because they come from such different backgrounds and don’t appear contrived at all. Both are characterised as very natural and likeable.
I think this is a fantastic choice of text for HSC students – it speaks to them as students and aids in their own thinking.
Anyone else have any thoughts on this text?