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Teaching GCSE English Literature Generically

Discussion in 'Secondary' started by mfinease, May 1, 2020.

  1. Hi all, I hope everyone reading is staying safe.

    I am a Computer Science teacher by training, however, due to staff turn at a previous school I taught GCSE English language and frankly enjoyed it. I started to teach literature which I enjoyed even more. Before the lock down I was a cover supervisor for a few schools and would only be called for English lessons through my arrangement with the cover agency. My predicament is that different schools teach different texts - even different exam boards! Even though I've taught so much English I still feel I don't have a grasp on the most effective way to teach the core principles. That might sounds a little abstract so here's what i mean.

    This is in the context of teaching Shakespeare, 19th-century and Modern texts

    Teaching a particular text is straight forward- we go through the plot and characters whilst forming analyses on themes context, structure and language, however, teaching two texts or three text at a time is near impossible. Now, I'm not intending to develop a scheme of work that teaches multiple texts for 2 years. My aim is to develop a short scheme of work that prepares students for exams but can be taught to students with little or no knowledge of a text. And as a by product this would also be useful for those students who come Spring term 1 have no idea who Benvolio is never mind how he is good intentioned!

    So just to clarify I am asking what I would need to consider when developing this scheme of work. Would this even be fruitful? Are there existing schemes of work that meet my requirements.

    Apologies for the long post.
  2. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    You could certainly devise a scheme of work that could be adapted to any text, based around the Assessment Objectives (and, to a lesser extent, exam technique). The kind of scheme that results in students knowing "I need to include X, Y and Z in answers to questions of type A". It probably wouldn't be much good at getting students into the 7 to 9 bracket, but a logical, formulaic approach might help certain borderline students secure their 5.
  3. saluki

    saluki Lead commenter

    Why would you want to do this?
    Most schools have a scheme of work in place. Most schools will provide you with material to cover the lesson. If not, you can download resources from on here or other sites.
    I think it a little bit dangerous for someone who is not a qualified English teacher to be devising schemes of work and going off at a tangent.
    I have taught several exam boards and a wide range of texts. The assessment objectives for all boards are the same.
    In my area schools nearly all teach Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet seems to be their second choice. A Christmas Carol is also popular. Those teaching AQA tend to choose the Power and Conflict poems. But its quite easy to familiarize yourself with 30+ poems. Occasionally a poem overlaps between boards. An Inspector Calls crops up regularly. It would be a good idea to swot up on all the texts in the schools where you teach.
    You may wish to post on the English forum for further advice.

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