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A-Level English Lit - Chaucer

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by MeliorateH, Oct 26, 2016.

  1. MeliorateH

    MeliorateH New commenter

    Hi there, if you teach Chaucer, how long do you spend on it? I'm a little new to A-level teaching and there is no scheme of work. Help! (can you smell the desperation?) Thank you very much.
     
  2. Robert_Frost

    Robert_Frost New commenter

    I'm pretty much doing it line by line to 'translate it' and we talk as we go. Which text are you doing?
     
  3. MeliorateH

    MeliorateH New commenter

    Hi there, we're doing the Merchant's Tale. I've had them working in pairs on sections of the text, blown up on A3. We've also watched bits of the animated version. But beyond going through line by line, I'm struggling with any more varied strategies.
     
  4. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    At my first PGCE placement I taught 'Wife of Bath' - the text was divided up among the students, and they were responsible for the translations (as homework), which they then presented and explained to the rest of the class.

    I told the class they could do a straight translation, or do something creative with it such as writing it in a certain style or even dialect. Some of them made a great deal of effort, with one even adapting his lines from the text into a haiku. One just copied and pasted from the internet. I, meanwhile, provided the contextual information, pointed out themes/symbols etc, and asked questions to all. We had an awesome lesson before I finished placement where I made them have a debate using quotes from the text, as to whether the Wife of Bath was actually intelligent and knowledgeable on religion (as she presented herself) or not (got myself an outstanding obs for that one :)).

    Perhaps you could try something like this, and see how it goes? Depending on their edition of the text, and any additional material you give them, they should be able to translate by themselves. There's plenty of support available on the internet too.

    BTW I am making assumptions about their ability here, as it seems a strange choice of text if your students are not especially bright.
     
  5. Robert_Frost

    Robert_Frost New commenter

    For The Merchant's Tale, I'm doing that too, you can spend some time looking at the context. Courtly Love is key - you might want to look at De Amore by Capallenus etc. Likewise, making links to the other texts in the Marriage Group really matters. May vs Griselda is a good lesson. Likewise, the Franklin's Tale versus The Merchant is useful.
    We do lots and lots of timed responses - built around what we did earlier in the week. Don't rush it - it doesn't need bells and whistles. Read it, talk about, write about it. Nice and simple.
     
  6. MeliorateH

    MeliorateH New commenter

    Thanks both, really useful ideas. I want to get this group doing some creative work, so creative translation sounds like a good idea.

    With regard to Griselda, I'm going to have them reading the section from Caryl Churchill's Top Girls that explains her story.
     
  7. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Also, I used this clip from Bill Bailey doing his 'Chaucer pubbe gagge' to explore the idea of the bawdy comedy and telling stories/entertaining the other pilgrims for Wife of Bath.

     
    MeliorateH likes this.
  8. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    There may be no Scheme of Work, but surely your HoD has produced a long-term plan that indicates at least how long should be spent on each unit of the course?

    Or if not: roughly speaking, calculate how many teaching weeks you have, calculate the percentage each unit counts for in the syllabus, and then apply that to the time available...
     
  9. MeliorateH

    MeliorateH New commenter

    Unfortunately this is FE, every teacher is their own head of department.
     
  10. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    What text are they doing next? That will have an impact on how long you spend on this, as if it's shortish you can steal some time from term 2...

    How many hours do they have per week?

    Are you sharing the class with someone else? What texts are they doing? How far into the texts are they?

    Is there a mock exam in Jan? Who is writing the question for it? (i.e. how much of the text will they need to have got through by then)

    Which exam board and spec?
     

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