Discussing the Conceptual in English: A Concrete Classroom Strategy

It all too easy sometimes to get lost in the small stuff of textual analysis. The micro. The single words and images. This is, it goes without saying, key to any literary discussion, but so is the macro. The big stuff. The conceptual. How might we build into our classroom routines more opportunity for such... Continue Reading →

An Inspector Calls and its Reception: An Alternative Interpretation

When we arrive at the end of An Inspector Calls and witness the Inspector looking out at the audience, in a kind of ideological crescendo, bellowing his warnings about ‘fire, blood and anguish’, it would be difficult to imagine Priestley’s aim is not an act of conversion. Priestley, one instinctively assumes, is seeking to uproot... Continue Reading →

My First Lesson: A Detailed, Step-by-Step Overview of My First Lesson with New Classes [Updated for 2021]

Anticipating and micro-scripting expected classroom interactions can be a really powerful strategy, helping to ensure a consistent and finely-tuned message. Whilst I wouldn't do this for most lessons, enjoying instead free flowing and responsive dialogue, I do think this can be especially effective for the first lesson of a new academic year. This post outlines,... Continue Reading →

Brief Notes on the Concept of Solastalgia

Earlier today I was reading, or rather listening, to Rob MacFarlane’s excellent book Underland when I came across a fasctaining concept that I wanted to share, and that I think will have a lot of mileage with various GCSE and A Level texts.  The concept is that of ‘solastalgia’, which, as MacFarlane outlines, comes from... Continue Reading →

Resonant Reading: A Poetry Reading Strategy

Before outlining this strategy to help students to encounter and explore a poem, first a question: when teaching poetry, what is the appropriate weight to give to our own interpretation of the poem? I think this is a really interesting question. Presumably, before we teach a poem we read and think about it first, perhaps... Continue Reading →

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