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Perfecting The Introduction: How to Write Every GCSE English Literature Introduction

I like to spend a lot of time explicitly teaching, modelling, and rehearsing with students finely crafted introductions. I do this for each of the questions we face as part of AQA GCSE English Literature. By the time of the exam, students should be able to produce a really precise and confident introduction for any... Continue Reading →

Making Retrieval English-y: Retrieval and the Poetic Cento

We often think very carefully about what material we want students to retrieve, but of equal importance is how they retrieve it. As with much of teaching, this ‘how’ is probably best filtered through the lens of subject specificity, triangulated of course with the underpinning science of how we learn. Yet, the mechanism by which... Continue Reading →

Would It Be Different If…

I’m currently working my way through an excellent series of Massolit lectures by John McRae that looks at unseen poetry. They’re great, really useful for teachers preparing unseen poetry, with lots of excellent choices and ways of framing an encounter with them. However, I’ve been especially struck by a question John McRae asks across several... Continue Reading →

Poetry Communicates Before It Is Understood

Recently whilst reading an article in NATE’s excellent Teaching English I came across this from TS Eliot: ‘Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood’. I think this is a fascinating idea to contemplate. First, I’m interesting in the qualifier ‘genuine’. Does this therefore imply in Eliot’s mind there is genuine and then disingenuous poetry?... Continue Reading →

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