The Essay: How To Help Students Get Better at Writing Essays

A couple of days ago I came across this incredibly interesting observation by Peter Stockwell, which immediately got me thinking about lots of things related to essay writing: If there is a canon of literary texts that move in and out of preference over time there is also a canon of acceptable critical discussion that... Continue Reading →

I am a Little World Made Cunningly: The World of the Text

Recently, I have been reading a lot about Text World Theory (and specifically the work of Ian Cushing and Marcello Giovanelli) as I think this has massive potential for how we frame a lot of English teaching and literary pedagogy. However, I’m still working my way through its implications and experimenting with how to use... 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 →

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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