Saturday, 30 November 2013

Preparing for the end

It is that time of year again! No, not Christmas. I mean the seasonal regeneration of Doctor Who. Like the makers of ‘Downton Abbey’  and ‘Eastenders’, there seems to be nothing more Christmassy than a death*.  It could be a psychological trick to make us feel happy. You might be bloated with a combination of Roses’ chocolates and sprouts (Did I ever tell you they were sexy?), but at least you are not dead. Or, maybe on a far deep-rooted level: the death of a well-known character in a show displaces and embodies the secret feelings we have towards an annoying relative. You may be stuck in a living room listening to an uncle or aunt fart and spout rubbish at you, but there on the shining television is a character that if you close your eyes you could imagine taking the form of your uncle or aunt.

Anyway, the Doctor is being bumped off and while I am waiting for the inevitable to happen I was thinking about the ending of novels, and in particular how we deal with the ending of a novel in lessons.   I teach and have taught lots of novels and plays and the ending is always an interesting thing to concentrate on in lessons. It is the culmination of everything you have done. It is the showstopper. It is the climax. It is a make or break moment. You often love or hate a book, film or novel based on the ending.  We always hear: ‘It was a great film apart from the ending.’ Or: ‘Wow- what an ending. I can’t possibly say why, but you have to watch it for the ending’.  In fact, I have become one of those sad people that are the last to leave a cinema, because somewhere in the credits there will be another ending tagged on that is ‘like amazing’.

For an English teacher, the ending has become a tactical nightmare. My opening talk on ‘Of Mice and Men’ is like the opening of ‘The Fight Club’:

The first rule of reading ‘Of Mice and Men’ is that you don’t look at the last page or chapter.

The second rule of reading ‘Of Mice and Men’ is that you don’t talk to a student in another class who has read the novel.

The third rule of reading ‘Of Mice and Men’ is that you don’t talk to your parents about reading the book, as they will probably have read it.

The fourth rule of reading ‘Of Mice and Men’ is that you don’t type the words ‘Of Mice and Men’ on any search engine.

The fifth rule of reading ‘Of Mice and Men’ is that you don’t mention anything, if you find out, about how the story ends.

The sixth rule of reading ‘Of Mice and Men’ is that you don’t discuss the book or these rules.

I know: it is all a bit convoluted. I should just say: ‘George kills Lennie, but you don’t know why, so let’s read the book.’ But I don’t. Instead I have this tightrope act of balancing between spoilers and secrecy. Usually, a crafty student discovers the ending and plants massive hints when we predict future events in the novel.  This is further evidence for teaching a wider variety of books at GCSE.

I hear of legends where students have openly cried in lessons over the ending of a novel.  Mine just cry with relief that they can talk about the ending, which they have known of since the first lesson.  It seems that everybody knows because Tim shouted it out on the bus home.

So what do you do when they have finished reading the book then? Well, here a just a few things that I do, or have done in the past.

Rapid Reactions
This is something that I have used again and again with endings.  All too often we have a big intelligent question to ask students when we finish a book and we neglect the emotive response to the ending.  When I close the book, I ask students to not talk and just fill in the sheet of paper, explaining I want their first impressions.

The sheet usually has the following things on it:

Event that sums up the novel:

Greatest scene:

Realistic moment:

Wasted opportunity:

Character you empathise with the most:

Character you loved to hate:

Character most like you:  

One thing you would improve:

Best line:

The beauty of this is that it always generates discussions. And the most surprising of things are found. I did this recently with ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and I was surprised that when a student said they thought the visit to the church was the most important scene.  She was right as it was a symbol of harmony in the novel and that is something we never see in the trial, which is the scene the majority of students picked.  

Evaluate the ending
I used to teach the WJEC GCSE exam and in some ways I hated and loved this question at the same time:

How satisfying is the novel’s conclusion?

For the most able, it was a challenge to justify the resolution by linking it to the structure, language and themes of the text. For the rest, it was a simple task of retelling the story and explaining why the ending was so good – something they thought the Examiner would be happy with, as if he had written the book.  However, with a bit of structure students can achieve a lot with this question.

Rewrite the end
There are several books I wish had a different ending.  A few years ago I got fed up with modern novels and their postmodern ways. I escaped this with Victorian novels.  I just got tired of the silly ways that contemporary novels ended. Trying to be too clever often ended with vague wishy-washy conclusions.  All too often the protagonist was left like they had smelt a fart, looking pensive and worried about the future. Cue the Victorian novel. A nice neat ending with no loose threads.  Baddies punished. Tick. The good guy or woman live happily ever after. Tick.

How different would the novel be if George was killed alongside Lennie?

How different would the novel be if Boo was stabbed at the end of the book?

Making links
Write a brief summary of the ending and get students to work backwards and label it with connections to other sections in the book. Students then easily see mirroring or foreshadowing.

I have done this a few times.  Students fill a shoebox with items that link to the plot. They justify putting the item in and then as a bonus I use the shoebox with another class when we start reading the book for the first time.


Some endings are clearly predictable and they were sign posted from the beginning. Others take you by su………

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Why don’t they ever blooming remember things?

Disclaimer: my knowledge and experience of neuroscience amounts to seeing a pickled brain in a classroom once and knowing the definition of the word.

Over the last few months, I have read numerous blogs about the inner workings of the mind and browsed several articles on how knowledge is more important than skills. From all of these I am coming to some of my own conclusions about memory and more importantly learning.

We all suffer with the same experience in the classroom. You ask a child about what happened in the last lesson and what nugget of gold they learnt through the meticulously planned lesson you tailor-made for their enjoyment. They look at you stunned. You probably haven’t given them enough thinking time, so you give them so more thinking time. And some more. And a bit more. A tumbleweed rolls across the classroom and in the distance you can hear a solitary bell ringing. You try to prompt them with words, gestures and semaphore signals. Nothing. Zilch. Not a glimmer. Why? They have forgotten it. The fantastic lesson where even the angels and archangels in Heaven were singing by the time the plenary arrived and they, the students, can’t remember it the following day, week or, not surprisingly, month.

The problem is short-term memory. The drive and thrust of our education system is on short-term memory. Everything we do feeds into the short-term memory. Our assessments. Our teaching. Our approaches. Our ideas of teaching too feed into this. A student’s memory is like a small purse. They pick up some coins (unofficial term: learning units) in period one and then in the next two lessons they pick up some more coins of a different currency (stay with me with this comparison).  By the afternoon, the students have a purse full.  After lunchtime, the student then tries to fit in a few more coins. However, there is no room, so something has got to go. They can slip in two more coins but only if they ditch the two pound coins that the English teacher worked so hard to give the student at the start of the day. Then, it all starts all over again the following day. More coins are added and the older ones go.

We are constantly trying to fit £100 in a purse that will only fit £50. Short-term memory has its uses. It is great, but it is not as good as long-term memory. We all want to commit the knowledge and skills we teach to permanent memory, yet we commit it to temporary memory or the short-term memory. That’s why I get fed up with students forgetting a book we studied last term. The majority of the lessons I taught were geared to temporary retention rather than permanent retention of information.  Yes, but you are teaching the skills and that is more important than knowing the book. The recursive nature of English means you will repeat skills but not the text.

I am starting to think that the unitary structure of our curriculum feeds into this obsession with short-term memory. We teach topics and assess the topics at the end of the unit. This structure, I think, supports temporary memory. Students after the assessment can dump all that knowledge because they have completed the assessment. What happens afterwards? Do they use it again? Is it referred to? Often, and I am talking about my teaching here, you refer to it in another topic, but the learning isn’t repeated again. It is assumed that it has moved over to permanent memory, because an assessment has been done. More than likely it hasn’t because the purse could only take so much.

Take Year 11: the year of constant cramming and rushing to cover the course.   We all panic because they have forgotten something or their knowledge of a topic is weak, so we employ their short-term memory again to plug the gaps. We all do it. I do it. Surely, most of Year 11 should be about developing the long-term memory in preparation for exams and life? Yet, the curriculum is jam packed with so much that it means short-term memory is employed because there isn’t enough time for developing long-term memory. This Mr Gove could have fixed by slimming down the curriculum and focusing on less and concentrating on quality. The current system (thanks Dickens) sees students as empty vessels to fill with facts, facts and more facts. Sadly, our students are small pots and can only take so much. Better to teach a few things properly than lots of things ineffectively.

So, how do we develop the long-term memory? I can’t find the blog here, but there is a brilliant one about repetition and using repetition in the classroom. Repetition is one way of achieving things. At the moment, I am employing some of these techniques in my classroom. One thing I hate is whistling, but another is the student who asks me: ‘What exam is this one?’. I endlessly tell students the details of the exams. Before, I used to think it was laziness on their part, but now I realise that they are not committing the most basic (and vital) of information to permanent / long-term memory. Therefore, I have been teaching them in a very repetitive manner the basics of the exam. Weeks later when I test them, they can recall all the information.

Fundamentally, I think we need to look at the structure of our curriculum. My department is currently looking at how we teach the novel to students. Each year we teach a novel, or more, depending on the circumstances. The novel usually takes a term to teach and we assess students through an essay based task. We questioned if this structure really helped them to ‘learn a novel’. Our conclusion was negative. They often forgot key things and knowledge wasn’t always carried over. Look at GCSE and we expect students to ‘learn a novel’ and we constantly refer to it across the course. Their learning is mixed with other things, but their long-term memory is developed as a result of this method.  So, we are changing how we teach the novel in Years 7 -9. Instead of narrowing it down to one term, we are spreading the teaching of the novel over the year. Each year group will have a novel. Interestingly, Year 8 will have ‘Great Expectations ’. Over the year, the teacher will teach the novel and at the end of the year they will have a large assessment. The hope is that their memory will be pushed to hold a story and key things over the year and instil things to their long-term memory. Time will tell, but that is the thing with short-term memory: it is quick and simple, but long-term memory takes time.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

Thanks for reading,


P.S. Emotional memory is very important to transferring information from short-term to long-term memory. Students always remember the time when John farted in a lesson, because it was ‘so’ funny. That’s why I think humour is so important in the learning process. Failing that, you could always use clips from scary films. Show a clip from ‘Carrie’ after teaching students something and the scare they had will help transfer information from short-term to long-term memory. The emotional experience they had will help commit the information to long-term memory. Warning: I don’t advocate the showing of horror films. Instead, use bad pop videos from the 80s. Far more scary.  

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Techniques for dummies

My presentation from the English Teachmeet

My presentation was a journey through my teaching of techniques. I discussed what I do to get students to explore language choices effectively. We have so many resources, yet we don’t have any clear step by step instructions of how to approach things and this is problematic if you are new to teaching English, or if you want to have a clear structure in your teaching. There is no single way to teach, yet it would be nice to hear how people approach things.
Our common approach to teaching techniques is often based on two approaches.  One: what students notice in a text. Two: asking leading questions highlighting key things.  There is also the teaching of a specific technique through writing but today I am mainly concerned with the analysis of techniques. Our questions usually sound like these:

       Why did the writer use the word ‘++++++’?

       How does the writer make the writing dramatic?

       How are questions used effectively here?

       How does the reader feel at the start and how does the writer create that feeling?

       What effect does the use of emotive language have at the start of the text?

I have felt that the two approaches don’t always work well for me. They are two extremes. One structured and the other not. Occasionally, I might use both approaches, yet I have always felt underwhelmed with the results. In fact, I felt that my whole approach to analysis was limiting. Approach one was trying to build independence yet it was based on what I had taught students previously. Approach two was dependent on me leading and students explaining. Therefore, I needed to think how I could get students to explore without being too dependent on me.  I needed some steps and approaches that would stagger the progress from explain to exploring. We seem to flip at the moment between the two.


Independence – choices – exploring (A/B)

dependence – formula – explaining (C/D/E)

The secret I find to writing effectively about techniques is about doing three things at once: talk about what the writer has done; explain how the reader feels; and explain why the writer wants people to feel or think this way. Hopefully, some of the approaches below help to address some of these things. Each of these I have experimented with and I am still experimenting with them.  

Approach one:  creating sentences.

This worked really well as a starter as it allowed students to construct simple sentences that could be expanded at a later stage. It made students think and they produced some clever and insightful points. I usually get them to write 6 sentences as a starter or a plenary.  They then feedback their best ones. 

To extend it further, I have asked students to link two techniques together ( alliteration and 1st person perspective) to show an understanding that techniques work in combination with each other.

Approach two:  offering them alternatives.

This I have blogged about before, but again it is a brilliant starter or plenary. It engages students quickly with its multiple choice approach. We are always asking students to say why something is used, which is like plucking something out of thin air, and rarely show them the possible alternatives. This approach gives students a clear alternative to say why the writer picked one rather than the other. I have used it with poems, plays and non-fiction texts. It gets to the heart of the choices and makes students think. The question, ‘Why did the writer use a simile here?’ becomes slightly more concrete for exploring when turned to, ‘Why did the writer use a simile instead of question here?’.  In their discussions they will relate ideas to the purpose and effect and structure without direct input from the teacher. They are simply exploring.


Approach three:  offering them precise alternatives.

A variation on a theme, but nonetheless it works well. Some teachers use draft versions of a text to explore choices, but this one worked really well. It removes jargon and technical terminology that bog some explanations down. Simply it focuses on the meanings of the words and how the word functions in the text. I had a group discussing endlessly the difference between look and glance. Harper Lee’s writing is quite simple, yet even with simple choices there are layers of meaning.


Approach four:  looking at the wider choices

Shakespeare is both easy and difficult to teach. This approach I have used before, but I am refining it here. Getting students to think wider as a writer is important. Here the students explore what were the big choices made for the scene and explore why those specific choices were made. Again, this is about making the implicit explicit. These are often the biggest choices made by the playwright, but they are neglected by the dominance of language features.  This is part of a bigger document which I will share later.

Approach five:  predicting the use of choice

This approach is my most ‘out-there’ one. The students are told the context of a scene. In this case, it was Othello killing Desdemona.  They have to explain why the writer would use the word ‘it’ in this situation before reading a single line of text. Students explore in detail why the choices were made. For me, this approach worked as it removed a lot of the barriers to understanding here – the complex language and numerous allusions to things students are not familiar with. Rather than decode a text, they were thinking like a writer. Why would you use the word ‘honour’ in this situation? Furthermore, it took out that annoying simplification of Shakespeare that sometimes happens. Why study Shakespeare if you are going to reduce it? The students were able to explore  the choices even before reading the scene. Then, in the reading of the scene an extra layer of analysis was added as they searched for the techniques or noticed what the writer actually did.
These are just some ideas and my exploration of teaching techniques is just an experiment with some positive results. I am going to take it further and apply it now to writing. For example:

Write a letter to the producers of X-Factor persuading them not to use the chairs again?


rhetorical question vs emotive language vs fact

I am going to get students to discuss which approach is best when writing the letter. We will explore the choices at the same time that we write. Write like a reader and read like a writer.

Thanks for reading,



Letting the drawbridge down - teachmeets

I led my first ever teachmeet  (teach meet / Teach Meet / TeachMeet – there is no consistency of how people write this so I will stick with my first attempt) and I loved it. The ideas presented were great and all the people left with some ideas or thoughts to use in the classroom. I’d love to divulge some of the things here, but the presenters might want to store their nuggets of great teaching ideas for another meeting or for their blogs. However, I left the whole experience with at least ten new ideas that I will use in the classroom next week. Plus, I have a warm, fuzzy feeling as everybody was so positive and friendly, which leads me on to….

Why are people so hesitant to attend a teachmeet? Yes, they do eat up your free valuable time and they do take you away from friends, family and marking, but why not give them a try? I used to think that it was full of smug people, boasting about how great they were at teaching.  Why would I want to go to something that will only make me feel inferior and inadequate? I felt and feel a real sense of community and purpose from attending and participating in teachmeets.

They say no man is an island, but a lot of teachers are castles: tough walls and a drawbridge that doesn’t come down. They have had to be tough because of their circumstances, their school or the pressures they are under.  But when the drawbridge is down people feel better. Understanding that others are experiencing the same things as you have is important. Understanding that others have made the same mistakes as you is vital. Understanding that others are asking the same questions as you is pivotal. Opening the drawbridge is so important, yet so many don’t because of the fear. The fear of being judged. The fear of looking weak. The fear of looking like they cannot cope. I have only felt a ‘can do’ feeling from leaving a meeting. We have a culture of do or die in society. People either sink or swim. This permeates a lot of society and I think the culture rubs off on our students. If we aren’t open to making mistakes in class, then how can we expect students to take risks? We learn from our mistakes but we don’t always like to admit this.

Schools should be looking at where things go wrong and look for solutions and not problems. This scapegoating approach is detrimental to education.  Something went wrong so let’s replace the whole thing. The GCSEs aren’t working so let’s replace the whole thing. No wonder teachers live in fear. If something goes wrong, things are replaced and they are rarely adapted. We should be knocking off the edges of things or using ‘Marginal Gains’ rather than bin it and start again. Education ministers have to take some responsibility. Each minister wants to make their mark, so they will want to do something different. Often, this means binning an idea that the previous government created. Go to a teachmeet as they will help you knock off some of the edges in your teaching. In fact, who came up with the name of teachmeet? It is so lifeless and dull? Why not an ‘ideas factory’? Or a ‘symposium’? Or the teacher ‘self-help group’?  Or ‘escape from my school for a bit session’? Or even a ‘knocking shop’? Maybe not the last one.  I will just call them problem solvers!  
I will post my presentation later today.
Once again, I big thank you to everyone involved in yesterday's teachmeet and thank you to Andy and Kathy for the photos.  
Thanks for reading,

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Gifted and talented at reading loads of books

I am asking the common question again: What can I do to push students? Like a pinball machine, a teacher’s head has lots of things and questions wheezing around in it and sometimes it hits something interesting and score points; other times the thoughts  go straight to the hole at the end of the game. Stretching the most able is something I feel strongly about. Pushing GCSE students isn’t just a case of giving them A-level texts. Pushing KS3 students isn’t just  about getting them to attempt GCSE questions. It is a fundamentally far bigger thing than give them work from the next stage up.

I have taught students fresh from the GCSEs and it has often saddened me that students who have chosen to do a subject lack drive, initiative, engagement and thought. But, I think the system we have does cause this. I often feel that I am cramming students with stuff all the time. I am preparing them for too much and it is all with the hope that some of it sticks. Take the literature exam for instance. In it, I have to teach a novel, a play, and several poems. It is like having a driving test and being tested on how you drive a car, a van, a lorry, a motor bike and a unicycle. All at the same time. Soon, we are going to be able to add Shakespeare to the list of things to teach them. Yay! The problem, I find, is that all this doesn’t encourage natural thought and ideas. Too much time is spent on ‘getting through the text’ and we often neglect that English is about ideas and how ideas are communicated. It is about thinking.

Isn’t that the point of the exams? To separate the wheat from the chaff? It may be. But, aren’t we limiting the thought processes at KS4 for which we endlessly moan about a lack of in KS5? I had a teacher at A-level who made me think.  Mr Powell was his name and I am sure he is Head of English in a school in Wales now. He taught me ‘Hamlet’ and ‘The Duchess of Malfi’. I will admit that I didn’t see eye to eye with him. In fact, he was the complete antithesis of Robin Williams in ‘Dead Poet Society’ for me. Mr Powell was an excellent, young teacher. Most people, I know, have a teacher that inspired them to teach. I don’t. But, he is the teacher who made me think about texts that as a result now I haven’t looked back since. He made me think. He took ‘Hamlet’ and made me think about questions that there were no simple answers for. He’d use quotes from critical essays and asked us to write an essay exploring it in relation to the quote. He made me think about the play, life, the context, the language and so much more. Before I plodded through texts and afterwards I thought about them in detail.  Like Hamlet, I procrastinated too much. But, that is what makes a great student: someone who thinks.

Back to that question: What can I do to push students? The default answer tends to be: read more. Booklists are given out and students look at them forlorn, hoping that one of those books was written in the last decade, and interesting? For me, it is about that but it is more about thinking. Getting students to think in a deeper way is the answer. Thunks at the start or end of the less are great for some abstract thinking or making connections, but I think more is needed to develop genuine thought and ideas.  These are four things I am doing or have done in the past that work, or might work:
[1] Critical essays

Each text I study I photocopy pages from critical essays and give them to a few students as an extension task or homework. Students read it looking for ideas that they agree, disagree or can’t comment on. Oxfam bookshops are great for picking up these.

[2] The Big-Clever-Intelligent Reading Project

This I have started this term and it is working… so far. We have read ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and I have asked students to find a book that explores racism or America from 1930-1960. They have come up with several books – ‘The Help’, ‘Great Gatsby’, ‘Noughts and Crosses’, ‘Of Mice and Men’ and ‘The Colour Purple’ (I know, I have warned them).

They are in the process of reading the book now and in December they are going to present a small talk on how their author presents racism or America. Furthermore, they are going to comment on how it contrasts with the presentation in ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’. How could they possibly comment effectively on the presentation of racism in a book if they have only looked at one book on the topic? By thinking about how another author presents an idea, they will understand the main text better.  

[3] Socratic Discussions

Enough said really. However, I do sit in the discussions occasionally.

[4] A love letter to the author.

Students are given a review of the text and explore if they can prove the ideas in it. Or, they look for flaws and inconsistencies in the arguments presented.  

Dear Harper Lee,

I think ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ is the greatest novel known to man. It is the one book that every student should read for its nuanced exploration of racism in 1930s America. The novel teaches us morally, socially and spiritually what is good and bad, which is especially of note in these troubled and desperate times.

Firstly, through ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ we learn that history is sometimes given too much status in society. Nobody can escape the past. Each character in the book has a past and that past affects how they behave and, more importantly, how others judge each them. Several characters live off the history of other characters. Their social interactions are formed as a result of historical events. The town of Maycomb too has a history and that history linked to the civil war also causes prejudices in the novel.  You, Miss Lee, show us how that racism is a historical thing and that for us to combat it we need to change how we view each other. History should teach us the wrongs and rights, but each person is not reflection of their ancestors. The sins of the fathers should be remembered but they shouldn’t haunt the current and future generations.

I am now off to ponder, consider, procrastinate, cogitate and decide whether or not to grow a moustache for Movember.

To Movember or not Movember – that is the question!

Thanks for reading,


P.S. If you know of any English teachers in driving distance of Derby, please tell them about the English Teachmeet on the 16th November. The link is here.


Sunday, 3 November 2013

Engchat Discussion: Questions about Shakespeare

Tomorrow it is my turn to lead a discussion on the teaching of Shakespeare. Today, I have been tweeting links to different sites for resources, but before we discuss the topic I thought I would share some questions that might be included tomorrow. Feel free to add more in the comments below. Some of these might incite people to respond, but please save that for tomorrow. I am playing devil's advocate with some of these questions, so don't read them as being my personal opinion.   

We will not be able to cover every question, but, hopefully, this might raise a few more questions. If not, it is a bit of homework to prepare for tomorrow.

Join us tomorrow on the #engchat hash tag at 8.30pm tomorrow.



General Philosophy Questions
  1. Do we teach too much Shakespeare? Do we destroy students' interest through constant reference to it?
  2. Do we teach too little Shakespeare? Are a few scene enough to teach a play?
  3. Why is Shakespeare selected over other major writers? Dickens? Austen?
  4. Is there an optimum age for teaching Shakespeare?
  5. Can you really teach Shakespeare effectively in a classroom environment?
  6. Why should we teach Shakespeare when a student struggles to read Standard English?
  7. Should every student study a play by William Shakespeare?
  8. Do we teach Shakespeare correctly these days?
  9. Has the teaching of Shakespeare improved or decreased over the years?
  10. Students do not have the linguistic ability, or the contextual understanding, to decode and  
  11. Do we spoon feed students too much where Shakespeare is concerned?
  12. Do we prepare students enough for analysing Shakespeare at KS5?
  13. Are we too narrow with the texts we select?
  14. Does teaching Shakespeare at primary school have benefits?
  15. Does the learning about the language really matter when students know the story?
  16. Did the KS3 SATs' paper help students with their analysis of texts?
  17. Should we really teach Romeo and Juliet when is covers some very adult content and issues?
  18. Should Shakespeare be just for the academic students?
  19. Does Shakespeare take up too much time? Should we work on modern texts rather than older texts?

Questions about the teaching

  1. How do cope with the length of the texts? What strategies do you employ?
  2. How do you get students hooked?
  3. How do you avoid constant translation of text?
  4. What is the one play that works time and time again?
  5. How do you get students to write about the language effectively without student repeating things you have highlighted?
  6. Which texts work better with boys? Girls? Top sets? Bottom sets? KS3? KS4? KS5?
  7. How do you teach Shakespeare as a dramatic text? Do you teach it in the same way as a modern play?
  8. How do you overcome the language barrier?
  9. How do you prevent constant annotating of the text?
  10. In what order do you teach things about a Shakespeare play? Themes. Structure. Language.
  11. How do you stretch the most able when teaching a Shakespeare play?
  12. How do you combat the film version dominating a student's understanding of a play? For example: R+J film often leads student to talk about guns.
  13. How do you teach a play creatively?
  14. What do you recommend people never do when teaching a Shakespeare play?
  15. How do you make comedies funny in the classroom?
  16. How do you spruce up the reading of the play?
  17. How can we get students confident enough to talk creatively about a play?
  18. How do you cover the large amount of allusions (classical, historical)  featured in texts? Do you explain every one?