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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 →

The Game of Crossing Out: A Retrieval Game

The Game of Crossing Out is an exceptionally fun retrieval game that is very simple to organise and gets students thinking. Here’s how to play: 1. Students first of all write down everything they can remember about a given text, theme or idea. This really can be anything. You explain that the more they write,... 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 →

Atomic Post: Analysing Enjambment and Alliteration

Students often like to write about enjambment and alliteration, likely because they’re very easy to identify, but they rarely do so well. Often points about these two poetic strategies might align to something related to flow, making the reader want to read on, or the alliteration of ‘a’ somehow and inexplicably mimicking something that the... Continue Reading →

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