Sunday, 15 October 2017

Let’s get touchy feely about genre - AQA Paper 1

Recently, I have returned to teaching Paper 1 for the AQA, and, with each time I teach it, I try something different and attempt to get better. This year I am making a conscious effort to look at effect and developing that further in explanations.

A bit ago somebody, probably Mark Roberts, shared a paper ‘War of the Worlds’. This week I am using it with a class, but this time I am going to focus on genre, and, more importantly the effect of the genre. What are we meant to think when we read a science fiction story? What are we meant to feel when we read a science fiction story?
You might think that that isn’t important, because they are focusing on the story, but I’d disagree.

Here’s the type of introduction the paper would have:

An unnamed narrator has witnessed a meteor land in a field near his home. He is one of the first people to discover the meteor. 

When you read the extract, you’ll see that it is a piece of science fiction.
Those who have never seen a living Martian can scarcely imagine the strange horror of its appearance. The peculiar V-shaped mouth with its pointed upper lip, the absence of brow ridges, the absence of a chin beneath the wedgelike lower lip, the incessant quivering of this mouth, the Gorgon groups of tentacles, the tumultuous breathing of the lungs in a strange atmosphere, the evident heaviness and painfulness of movement due to the greater gravitational energy of the earth--above all, the extraordinary intensity of the immense eyes--were at once vital, intense, inhuman, crippled and monstrous. There was something fungoid in the oily brown skin, something in the clumsy deliberation of the tedious movements unspeakably nasty. Even at this first encounter, this first glimpse, I was overcome with disgust and dread.

But, I think students need some complex understanding of the emotional impact of the science fiction genre to fully comment on the effect of the piece.
The genre of course is science fiction, but the subgenre is invasion. So, what is a reader meant to feel and think when they read a science fiction invasion story?

What are we supposed to feel?
fear / dread  / anxiety / nervousness / confusion / unsettle / a lack of safety  / unpredictable / disgust / horror

What ideas are we supposed to think?
The fear of outsiders – xenophobia

Question our safety and security 
When a student understands the idea that invasion stories utilises a fear of outsiders, they understand then how the level of disgust is typical of a person in this situation.  Then, students have an idea of the primary effect of the text. This then allows us to explore the secondary effects of the text.

The adjective ‘tumultuous ‘creates a sense of inferiority and abnormality of the creature in the way that this creature breathes differently to him, highlighting how unalike they are. This in turn makes the reader feel helpless as the narrator is inferior and possibly weaker than this creature.

Once a student understands the effect of a genre they can build an understanding of how the genre affects the writer’s choices and how that is complexly linked to effect.

What is the reader’s connection to the story?
Helpless observer  

Which one is more important to the genre - character or setting?
Setting

What is the most important thing that the writer must describe?
Alien aspect

What are the story rules for a science fiction story?
·         Must involve a discovery
·         Should contain a clash between human and inhuman aspects
·         Science should feature at some point
·         Must be some sort of prophecy  

A complex understanding of the genre is needed to fully understand the effect of any text. It is not enough for a student to spot a genre. No two texts and alike and so students cannot link every extract they read to a generic story telling structure of introduction, complication, crisis and resolution. After all, introduction, complication, crisis and resolution is so… emotionless. The introduction of thriller is different to a horror. The emotions are different too.
Back to ‘War of the Worlds’. When we have a better understanding of the genre, we can then look at the structure of the extract. Oh, look at the next question: it is about the structure of a text. And with a science fiction invasion story, the emotional structure of the story usual goes fear, shock, disgust and happy – after the defeat of the said creature. Looking at the extract from ‘War of the World’ above, we can see that the extract covers the transformation from fear to shock. Students can then be asked about where this extract fits in the story and the rules of the story. What are the storytelling rules after this extract? What should the writer do?

Across the land, there are schools teaching a dystopian unit or a horror unit. They will probably talk about the stock features and elements of the genre, but will they talk about the emotional content of a genre? Will they talk about the emotional structure of a genre?
I think with Paper 1 it is important to know the genre and its effect on the emotions of the reader. Students need to know the overall effect as well as the specific effect created by literary devices. That’s why with each paper I am doing with Paper 1 I am spending 10 minutes exploring the genre and thinking about its effect on the reader. They need to be better at spotting the different genres and subgenres and how those impact on the reader.

Thanks for reading,
Xris

More links to writing about effect: 

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Daft drafting in the classroom


I think the concept of ‘drafting’ is possibly one of the most dangerous concepts in secondary schools. It is used with aplomb and glee abandon in the classroom. Today, we are going to draft a story. We are going to draft our assessments. Let’s draft our answers to this question.

We like to think drafting is a vital and integral part of the writing process, but time and time again drafting amounts to nothing much. Take the drafting process of coursework. I have read endless numbers of drafts and final versions. Every single one tends to carbon copy of the original one. In fact, drafting in some cases should be called human photocopying. The students just write up the previous version and change one or two things.

We have this romantic version of writing and drafting is right at the front of the writing process. Drafting does have its place in the world – I just don’t think it is necessarily in the classroom. You’d need a high level of sophistication and a good few months, or even years, to perfect a text. Writers draft over time and long periods of time. How long does it technically take to write a book? Hint – more than one hour’s lesson.

My main problem with drafting is that is focused on the end product. It is all about producing something and then thinking how it can be improved. The thoughts and thinking, we like to think, are post mortem. Once the text is written the student has a chance to think of improvements and ways forward. The issue for me is the thinking process. When would it help students to understand when they are doing things wrong? Is it so helpful to tell them after the car crash piece of work? Not really. We need to intervene some time before the crash.

Because writing is a process, it isn’t helpful to make changes to that process after the process has been completed. Take lesson observations. We give guidance and support to teachers after an observation, but at that point it is too late. The process has finished. It is gone. Wouldn’t it be better if we helped the teacher change course during the observation? Wouldn’t it be more beneficial if the teacher made the changes and saw (felt) how the changes improved things?

Driving lessons are another good example to prove this point. Did the instructor tell you where you went wrong at the end of the session? No. They did it during the process, so you’d learn and avoid making the mistake again. You were in the process of driving and it was relevant and pressing. At the end of the lesson, the process has finished.

The 200 Word Challenge has made me see the benefits of ‘course changing’ during the writing process. Every week, I speak to fifteen or so students about their writing. We discuss what they have done in previous lessons and their writing that lesson. I correct them in the process, when they need my input most. They need me to tell them they are doing it wrong. They need me to guide them.  I am in the moment with them. But, I am also doing something else. I am showing them how good writers work. They think in the middle of writing and change their course. They self-correct. They modify. They improve, during the writing. We seem to spend so much time getting students to plan, proofread and draft writing that we have missed the important part of writing – the thinking process, while they are writing.

My marking of books during the 200 Word Challenge session has had a bigger impact on work than 10 years of marking. Why? Well, I think it is because I am in the process. I am working with them side by side, but I am also thinking with them about improvements. I am modelling the correct behaviour. It is also a time where I can clarify things. What do you mean that my paragraphs are weakly constructed, sir? We assume that a written mark on work is understood and retained by the students.

Progress happens more often now than before because of the immediacy of the improvements. We want students to self-correct work, and, for this to be part of their writing process, they need to feel the benefits of the course correction. They need to see and feel the benefits of the changes. That is probably why drafting has failed for so long. They don’t feel and see the benefits immediately. When the instructor tells you that you need to go up a gear, you experience the benefits of the change. The distance between the process and the advice is paramount. If the advice isn’t immediate, they fail to see the benefits of a changes. I say ‘see’ but the word should be ‘feel. They need to feel a positive experience to enable them to adapt their behaviour.

So stop drafting this week. When students are writing, get them to sit next to you and give them feedback. See how giving students immediate feedback changes things for you and them. 

Thanks for reading,

Xris

Twinkl Resources


The people at Twinkl have given me a free account on their website and in return I said I’d review, occasionally, some of their resources.

Resources for lessons is a tricky subject for me, because where people want a full standalone lesson lovingly crafted by someone else, I want a task or resource to use in a lesson. If I wanted something done for me, I’d still be living with my parents and they’d write this blog for me. Therefore, I am going to pick several resources, which I think are useful for parts of a lesson.



Fronted Adverbial Word Mat

I am a big fan of using primary school approaches in the classroom. A simple, yet effective way of ensuring transition without the need for a big label. This resources is particularly useful with creative writing. My Year 8s are currently writing horror stories and they are guilty of writing pedestrian sentence openings. I am going to use this when drafting. I particularly like the fronted adverbials related to degree for developing some sophisticated expressions.



Paragraph Cohesion

Paragraphs are the bane of my life and I always like an extract where the use of paragraphs is explored. This resource uses an extract from ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and gets students to uses the appropriate conjunction or adverbial. Nice for 5 minute activity before you start looking at paragraph construction in more detail.  



An Inspector Calls Mini Exam Pack

I am always on the lookout for ways to support the department and I found this pack quite an easy hack. I have photocopied the pack and I am giving it to staff so that they can set them as homework. With the questions photocopied as a booklet, students can plan a question after each lesson and start the following lesson with sharing their plan.



Phase 2 Captions Handwriting Activity Sheet

Sometimes differentiating work can be hard. I have found this activity, along with others, on handwriting quite helpful when you have a student who struggles with writing and writing prose. This helps, with a TA, them to work on their control of their pen / pencil.



All resources can be found here:

Sunday, 24 September 2017

The Rules of Poetry


There was a moment this week when I was talking to a class about free verse and its benefits for poetry. During it, I had a thought. A thought about rules. How important it is to understand the rules of a particular poem? Whether a poem is free verse or not, there is still a set of rules guiding the writing. Not having rhyme is a rule. Not having a regular rhythm is a rule.

I have analysed ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’ umpteen times and I thought I’d view it differently. I thought I’d view it from a set of rules. I started with a few rules and then things snowballed.

Rules

1.       Sound effects are repeated three times

2.       End each stanza with the ‘six hundred’

3.       Visual details are repeated twice

4.       All dialogue starts with ‘Forward, the Light Brigade’

5.       The last verb in first fours stanzas is ‘rode’

6.       Verbs are paired when action takes place

7.       Stanzas three and five repeat the same five lines at the start

8.       The first word in every line is stressed

9.       One word in the whole poem is three syllables long

10.   All words, apart from one,  in the poem are one or two syllables long

11.   Dactylic diameter used throughout

12.   The number of times the imperative ‘forward’ is used matches the number of times the imperative ‘honour’  is used at the end

13.   Exclamations are followed by questions at the start but this is inverted at the end of the poem

I could go on and on looking for rules. This, by no means, is an exhaustive list. But, when you have rules down on paper you can start exploring the meaning in greater detail. What is the significance of a rule? (Incidentally, you have some rules to help them create a poem.)

Rule 13 – Nobody questioned the orders until after the event. Therefore, the last stanza reflects that need to question first before action. The poem subtly wants a change in the structure of the military organisation.

Rule 9 – Battery is the one three syllable word in the whole poem drawing attention to the key difference between the light brigade and their enemy.

Rule 1 and 3 – Greater emphasis is placed on the sound effects rather than the visual aspects to give a level of distance and confusion. The events are heard more than they are seen. Reflects how the public experienced

Rule 12 – The poet replaces the officer giving orders at the end of the poem. His commands equal that of the officers in the event.

These aren’t definitive interpretations, but they present a starting point to enable a focused discussion of the poem. Tomorrow’s lesson with my Year 10 is about the Ted Hughes’ rules in ‘Bayonet Charge’.  

Thanks for reading,

Xris  

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Analysis in GCSE Literature and GCSE Language is a chimera

Historically, as a school, we have done better in English Literature than English Language. Surprisingly, this year we saw the complete opposite. Now, I’d like to partly blame the dodgy ‘Romeo and Juliet’ question, but there is more to it than first meets the eye. When reading the examiner’s report, it seems that the analysis was the problem for many schools and ours. For me there seems to be such a difference in the level of analysis expected and, more importantly, the type of analysis. Whereas analysis was fairly consistent before, this time it is quite different.

GCSE English Language
Paper 1

Question 2 – How does the writer use language to…  
Highly technical
Emphasis on terminology
Emphasis on effect
Closely analysing the extract on a word or sentence level

Question 3 – How is the opening structured?
Content driven
Low emphasis on terminology
Emphasis on effect
Whole text analysis  

Question 4 -  How far do you agree with the statement?
Content driven
Emphasis on terminology
Emphasis on effect
Whole text analysis

Of course, different papers and different questions have a different emphasis. However, what alarms me the most is how the types of analysis is constantly morphing on just one paper. Use terminology for this question. Don’t use it for this one. Refer to the content in the question here. Don’t mention it there. So, when you are trying to develop analysing skills, it doesn’t help when the exam paper isn’t consistent with a view of analysis. Analysis just doesn’t mean the same thing in all the questions.
Look at the GCSE Literature exam and you see a completely different view. The examiner’s report is repeatedly that the students’ analysis was too narrow and detrimental when the students analysed things on a technical level and identified the word class of quotes. According to the examiner’s report, the extract doesn’t need to be analysed in fine detail. In fact, it seems that the extract hinders students, reading between the lines of the report. Now, here’s what I am at odds at: on one GCSE paper the examiners want students to be technical and zoom in, and one paper doesn’t want students to be technical and zoom in. I am at odds with this, because we, well most of us, teach both GCSEs to sets at the same time and in the past there has been a bit of consistency. We could feel reassured when teaching one GCSE we were subtly supporting the other. At the moment, I am starting to feeling I am working with two different churches and two different belief systems.

I am having to teach students to analyse things differently and actively teach them to approach it differently. We are going Protestant for Literature and Catholic for Language.
So, what is my approach for Literature? Well, this is the one we are trying for this year. It is a structure for planning a response to a question. I present it as an inverted triangle. The point at the bottom being the extract.

Read the question – ignore the extract
1:  Big ideas – inferences / inference words / abstract concepts
2: Shakespeare teaches us ….
3: Elizabethans felt….
4: Whole play – start/middle/end
5: Scene
6: Extract – language

I should imagine thousands of students in the summer started their planning with the extract and there lies the problem. We you start with an extract first you are automatically limiting the level of thought. You are looking for the answers in the text and that, honestly, where the problem lies. The answers are not in the extract. Evidence is in the extract, but not the answers. In fact, I am getting students to ignore the extract. In lessons, I am hiding the extract until the end of the planning.

Let’s take this question:
Starting with this exchange, explain how you think Shakespeare presents the way young men view love.


1:Big ideas – life-changing / romanticised / perfection / unreal / beyond the physical realm
2: Shakespeare teaches us how young men see love as a spiritual experience which transforms them and dominates their life.  
3: Elizabethans were deeply religious and viewed their spiritual life as more important than their physical life.
4: Start – Romeo meets Juliet for the first time and refers to her as saintly and worshiping her
   Middle – The wedding is a spiritual uniting of souls
   End -   Romeo kills himself so his soul can be united with Juliet

As the play develops, we move from the physical world to the spiritual world.
5: Scene: In this extract from Act 1 Scene 1, Romeo explains his love for Rosaline to Benvolio.
We see how not all men behave in the same way. Benvolio questions this behaviour. Romeo is consists in his view of love. Similar approach with Juliet. Benvolio a foil for Romeo.

6 : Extract: Language
Well, in that hit you miss: she'll not be hit
With Cupid's arrow; she hath Dian's wit;
And, in strong proof of chastity well arm'd,
From love's weak childish bow she lives unharm'd.
She will not stay the siege of loving terms,
Nor bide the encounter of assailing eyes,
Nor ope her lap to saint-seducing gold:
O, she is rich in beauty, only poor,
That when she dies with beauty dies her store.


·         Repetition of the idea that she isn’t attainable

·         Reference to ‘saint’

·         Linked to gods – beyond the mortal realm

Note: This is a structure for planning a response and not a structure for writing a paragraph, so do not get any crazy ideas like this could be a structure for a paragraph. That idea is hideous.

And, so far, so good. The key thing is hiding the extract. For years, we have started with the extract, but in the church of GCSE English Literature, you need to save it for the end, when thinking and planning. I know Vygotsky wouldn’t like it, but going from the concrete to the abstract hinders students with analysis, because they struggle to shift to abstract thinking when they have something concrete before them. Students see the extract as having the answers. Therefore, they’ll obsess over the extract. In fact, the extract is the least important thing.


Analysis means something different in every question.
Imagine if we expected a different method to solve algebra in every question on the Maths exam paper.

Let’s have a bit of consistency.


Thanks for reading,

Xris

Sunday, 10 September 2017

When did we start narrowing education?


With all this conversation on curriculums and the newfound scrutiny on schools’ curriculums, I am thinking about the content of the lessons in our school.  Is the curriculum good enough? Good enough for what? Students? Jobs? University?  The two words commonly linked to curriculum are ‘broad’ and ‘narrow’.

What if the whole education system is responsible for this narrowing of content? Not nasty exams.

It is interesting to know that an old ‘university’ education was as broad as they come. The Latin word ‘universitas’ means ‘whole’.  Although there was some focus on a specialism or topic area to become a specialist, the content was a range of subjects including religion, astronomy, theology, medicine and much more. It truly was a universal education. Now, look to today. Can we really consider our education to be truly universal?

The narrowing of our education system is everywhere. Take the following:

1: Year 6 students are assessed on writing, reading, Mathematics and spelling, punctuation and grammar.

2: Year 9 students take options for Year 10 – reducing the number of subject areas.

3: Year 12 students reduce subjects to three or four areas of focus.

4: University students reduced the subjects to one or two subjects.

5: Post graduate students then focus on one subject and narrow it down to one aspect of that subject.

Is that a universal education? Is that making broad minds? You see: we have a system that explicitly and implicitly narrows our knowledge. Yes, you may learn lots of stuff, but it is narrowed knowledge. Knowledge good for one purpose only.

We know that the narrowing of our curriculums have been partly influenced by results and league tables. Look at how English and Maths are reported with everything, so the curriculum is narrowed a lot of the time because of them. Stop mentioning ‘including English and Maths’ and you will not have whole schools moving heaven and earth to improve English and Maths. They might even try to improve everything, including English and Maths.

Ahh, Xris, well that’s where you are wrong: we have introduced the Ebacc. Yes, the Ebacc does in part combat this narrowing, but you still have subjects not included in the Ebacc. And, don’t get me started on the Progress 8 buckets.

At every step, there is explicit or implicit narrowing of the education system. But, there is also social narrowing too. Parents are great, but some actively help support narrowing of the curriculum. Take some of these comments:

Why should my child study French?

He's never been good at Maths; he’s always been better at English and literacy.  

One comment might be generated by some misguided xenophobia. The other one is probably more prevalent in schools: the acceptance that you can’t be good in every subject. And, this is the biggest lie. Students are fed a lie that is culturally acceptable to be stronger in one area (Maths, English, Science) because the greatness in that one subject is great enough to smother the weaknesses out of existence. He’s useless at Maths, but he is fantastic in English. Shucks, he just has a brain for English. He’s a bit like me – I am no good at Maths too.

Our culture has created this problem for us. We see endless images of people who are good at one thing. Success has become the fruit of one niche area. We see people successful as being really good in specific area. A footballer is good in football. A business man / woman is good in business. A singer is good at singing. Success is presented through the specialism in an area. Young people are seeing the repeated message again and again: you only need to be good at one thing to be successful. When you see that, it is easy to see how students narrow their own educations. They select the subjects that they are good at and focus on them. They neglect the subjects they are not successful in. After all, you only need to be good at one thing to be successful in life.

Year 10 and Year 11 are the years where schools spend most of their time try to stop students narrowing their focus and get them to broaden their focus and concentrate on other subjects. Some schools might go: ‘To hell with it, let’s focus on English and Maths.’ Others might go: ‘Get the buckets filled.’ I think it is so hard to stop this ‘self-narrowing’ of curriculum by students because they have had the following messages and points:

SATs told them they only need to worry about English and Maths.

Parents told them they had problems with Maths too.

Teachers told them they had to do a subject because the Government wants students to do the Ebacc.   

Colleges told them they only need four Cs and a 4 in English.

The Government told them they need a 4 in English and Maths or they will need to resit it again.

So is it any wonder a Year 11 student narrows their revision and focuses on one or two subject. Almost everything is telling them to narrow down their studies. When subjects are viewed as being more important than others, then it is understandable why students select what and what not to focus on.   

We need to work on making every subject equal in the eyes of parents, students and teachers. A student will start to see every subject as important when we treat it as equally important. Maybe we need to go back to the old days and build up this idea of universal education. However, this is hard to do when the whole system is built and designed to narrow things. Even Maths and English have been narrowed down. That narrowing is symbolised in the names of the subjects. There are so many disciplines in English that the word ‘English’ does not do enough to reflect the subject effectively or truly.

I love the concept of the Renaissance man (or woman). The idea of being good in several areas. Or, at least trying to be. We should be forcing students to be polymaths. I’d like to think I am one, because the opposite of a polymath, according to an online dictionary is a goof, an ignoramus, a nitwit or a clot.

In our attempts to improve things, we have erroneously made them good at something rather than everything.

Rather than teach students about grit and resilience, let’s teach them the importance of excelling in all things, rather than one. Let’s focus on the whole rather than the parts.

Thanks for reading,

Xris   

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Vocabulary Lists


In January 2016, I explained in the blog how I found it really effective when I taught vocabulary around the idea of words closely linked together in meaning. Students were able to make more meaningful descriptions and interpretations when they knew the subtle differences. Understanding the difference between an angelic view and an alluring view is incredibly important when developing an interpretation or creating a mood.

Below is a collection of the words grouped together. They are a collection of synonyms and antonyms grouped around one idea. Like the example below, students learn the words and then in class we look at the subtle variations of the word beautiful. We look at the meaning, effect and use of the words. The beach on holiday could be bewitching, exquisite, or enticing - just each word has a different effect.

The original blog can be found here.

Thanks for reading,

Xris


Beautiful

Word
Definition
Word Class
Alluring
Very attractive or tempting
A
Angelic
Like or belonging to an angel
A
Beauteous
Beautiful
A
Bewitching
As if witches or some form of magic makes you like it
A
Comely
Pleasing in appearance
A
Delicate
Fragile and easily damaged
A
Elegant
Tasteful or luxurious in style or appearance
A
Enticing
To attract someone
A
Exalted
Raised or elevated to a high position of rank, power, character or quality
A
Exquisite
A special and rare beauty or charm
A
Imposing
Very impressive because of great size, appearance or elegance

A
Pulchritudinous
Physically beautiful
A
Radiant
Emitting rays of light or bright with joy and hope
A
Ravishing
Extremely beautiful
A
Refined
Free from impurities 
A
Resplendent
Shining brilliantly
A
Statuesque
Like or suggesting a statue
A
Sublime
Impressing the mind with a sense of power and inspiring awe
A
Transcendental
Beyond ordinary or common experience
A
Wondrous
Wonderful or remarkable

A


Fear  

Word
Definition
Word Class
Abhorrence
A feeling of extreme dislike and loathing
N
Agitation
A feeling of physical unrest leading to pacing and hand-wring
N
Angst
A feeling of dread, anxiety or anguish
N
Aversion
A strong feeling of dislike or opposition
N
Awe
A feeling of something bigger and greater
N
Bewilder
To confuse or make a person puzzled
V
Consternation
A sudden feeling of alarming amazement or dread that caused confusion
N
Despair
A loss of hope
N
Discompose
To upset the order of things
V
Dismay
To break up a person’s courage
NV
Disquietude
A sense of being uneasy
N
Doubt
To hesitate to believe
V
Dread
To be in great fear
V
Foreboding
A strong feeling of something bad about to happen
N
Misgiving
A feeling of doubt or distrust
N
Qualm
An uneasy feeling or attack of conscience
N
Revulsion
A violent dislike of an item
N
Timid
Lacking confidence or courage
A
Tremor
A shaking of the body called by fear
N
Trepidation
A feeling of alarm or anxiety about something about to happen
N


Happy  

Word
Definition
Word Class
Bitter
Resentful or cynical – doesn’t like what happens  
A
Blissful
Full of extreme happiness
A
Contended
Feeling satisfied
A
Dismal
Causing gloom
A
Ecstatic
Feeling extreme joy
A
Elated
Very happy or proud
A
Glad
A sense of joy created by being pleased with something
A
Glum
Silently miserable
A
Grieved
To feel grief or great sadness / sorrow
V
Heartbroken
Suffering from intense grief
A
Joyous
Full of joy
A
Jubilant
Feeling triumph or success – extreme joy
A
Melancholy
A depressed or gloomy state of mind
A
Mournful
A feeling of grief or mourning for the dead
A
Overjoyed
To create a feeling of great joy or delight
V
Pessimistic
Expecting the worst thing to happen
A
Sombre
Extremely serious 
A
Sorrowful
A feeling of sadness caused by a loss
A
Thrilled
To cause a sense of excitement
V
Upbeat
Feeling cheerful and optimistic
A

 Loneliness  

Word
Definition
Word Class
Alienation
Being an outsider or the feeling of being an isolated by society
N
Aloof
Having different feelings to others or no sharing feelings with others
A
Concealment
A way or place of hiding
N
Confined
To shut up or keep in
V, A
Desolated
Deprived of inhabitants
V, A
Detachment
The act of separating
N
Disengage
To free a person from something 
V
Insular
Detached or standing alone
N
Isolated
Separated from other persons or things 
V, A
Partition
Something that separates two things
N
Privacy
Being away from people or hidden from view
N
Quarantine
Isolation is enforced by the government
N. V
Reclusive
A person who lives on their own, usually for religious reasons
N
Retreat
Withdrawing for safety or privacy
N, V
Rootless
Having no place in society
A
Sanctuary
A place of safety
N
Secluded
Sheltered or hidden from view
V, A
Segregation
Separating one part of society from another
N
Solitude
Living alone
N
Withdrawal
The act of retreating or removing a person from society
N

  
Love  

Word
Definition
Word Class
Adore
To admire something very much
V
Adulation
Extreme admiration
N
Affection
A feeling of fondness or tenderness to a person
N
Affinity
A natural liking or attraction to a person
N
Amorous
Displaying love or desire
A
Cherish
To show great tenderness or to treasure a person
A
Devotion
A strong attachment demonstrated by dedicated loyalty
N
Endearment
An act or utterance that shows affection
N
Fidelity
Faithful to a loved one and keep to their promise
N
Fondness
Showing tenderness or affection
N
Glorification
Treating something as more splendid than it actually is
N
Idolatry
Excessive or blind devotion to a person
N
Infatuation
An obsessive attachment which makes the person act foolishly
N
Lust
Intense sexual desire
N
Rapture
Ecstatic joy or delight – as if taken to another place
N
Tender
Treating something as if it is soft or delicate
A
Unconditional
Without conditions or limits
A
Unrequited
Not returned or repaid
A
Worship
To be devoted to and full of admiration
V
Yearning
An intense or overpowering longing, desire or need
N

People and Society

Word
Definition
Word Class
Aristocrat
A member of the superior, privileged or upper class part of society
N
Bourgeois
A member of the middle class
N
Commonwealth
A group of people united in a common interest
N
Conflux
A coming together of people or a crowd
N
Conservative
Wanting to preserve existing conditions or restore traditional ones
A
Democracy
A form of government in which the people vote for who is in power
N
Emancipation
The act of freeing or the state of being freed
N
Equalitarianism
The belief that all people should be equal
N
Federation
A union by agreement of several different groups
N
Mob
A disorderly or riotous crowd of people
N
Monocracy
A government led by only one person
N
Orthodox
An established or traditional point of view
A
Patrician
A person of noble or high rank or a very good background 
N
Plebeian
Belonging to the common people
A
Populace
The common people or the inhabitants of a place
N
Proletariat
A class of workers who earn their living by manual work – the working class
N
Republic
A state in which the power rests in the people and not a monarch
N
Schism
A division of group into opposing factions
N
Sovereignty
Supreme power or authority
N
Suffrage
The right to vote, especially in a political election 
N


Poverty

Word
Definition
Word Class
Bankruptcy
To lose all money or utter failure
N
Beggarly
Like a beggar
A
Depleted
To decrease by a large amount
V
Deprive
To remove or withhold something from the enjoyment or possession of a person
N
Despair
A loss of hope or hopelessness
N, V
Destitute
Lacking food, clothing or shelter
A, V
Distressed
Suffering from great pain or agony
A
Famine
Extreme hunger or a lack of food
N
Hardship
A situation that is hard to cope with or causes suffering
N
Impoverish
To reduce to poverty or to make worse
V
Inadequate
Not suitable
A
Insufficiency
Not having enough power, money or amount of something
N
Malnourish
Not fed enough food

A, V
Meagre
Small, thin or lacking richness
A
Neglect
To pay no attention or pay too little attention to
N, V
Pauper
A person without any means of support
N
Penniless
Without any money
A
Scarcity
When there is a lack of something
N
Starve
To die or perish because of a lack of food
V
Woeful
Unhappy
A


Savagery

Word
Definition
Word Class
Barbarity
A brutal or inhuman contact
N
Bloodthirsty
Eager to shed blood
A
Brutal
To describe a cruel, inhuman, savage aspect
A
Callousness
Hardened or unsympathetic
attitude  
A, V
Civilised
To be educated, refined and enlightened
V, A
Crude
Natural, blunt or underdeveloped
A
Deprave
To make morally bad or evil
V
Feral
Having the characteristics of a wild animal
A
Ferocious
A violently cruel or as a wild beast, person or aspect
A
Homicidal
Wanting to kill a person
A
Ill-bred
Showing a lack of social breeding; unmannerly; rude
A
Inhuman
Not human or lacking human feelings such as sympathy, warmth or compassion
A
Malice
A desire to inflict injury, harm or suffering on another because of meanness or an impulse
N
Masochism
To take enjoyment from being cruel to oneself through own actions or another’s actions
N
Merciless
Showing no mercy or compassion
A
Ruthless
To act without pity or compassion
A
Sadism
To take enjoyment from being cruel
N
Spite
A desire to harm, annoy, frustrate or humiliate another person
N
Uncivilised
To not be educated or cultured
V, A
Vicious
Bad tempered or violent
A


Ugly  

Word
Definition
Word Class
Appalling
Causing dismay or horror
A
Beastly
Like a beast
A
Coarse
Harsh or of an inferior quality
A
Debased
To reduce in quality or value
V
Deformed
Having the form changed to lose beauty
A
Degenerate
To fall below normal levels of physical, mental or moral qualities
V
Disfigured
To destroy the appearance or beauty of an item
V
Grisly
Causing a shudder or a feeling of horror
A
Homely
Lacking in physical attractiveness
A
Ignoble
Inferior or of a low grade or quality
A
Iniquitous
Something we associate with wickedness
A
Loathsome
Causing feelings of disgust
A
Misshapen
Badly shaped
A
Nauseating
Causing sickness
A
Nefarious
Something extremely wicked
A
Noxious
Harmful or likely to cause injury
A
Repelling
To make people want to leave
V
Repugnant
Not to a person’s taste or offensive
A
Repulsive
Causing people to avoid
A
Vulgar
A lack of taste
A



Villains / heroes

Word
Definition
Word Class
Agitator
A person who stirs things up to make people unhappy 
N
Anarchist
A person who wants to change the order of thing. They usually use violence 
N
Antihero
A hero who lacks the usual qualities associated with a hero such as courage, strength and kindness
N
Brute
A brutal, cruel person
N
Creep
An unpleasant, obnoxious person
N
Daredevil
A reckless and daring person
N
Entrepreneur
A person who takes the initiative
N, V
Gallant
A brave person who usually does things for the right reason
N
Idol
A person who admired and respected
N, V
Lowlife
A despicable person who has done something to be disliked
N
Mercenary
A person who only does things for money
A, N
Mischief-maker
A person who likes to cause mischief or problems
N
Opportunist
A person who adapts their behaviour to take advantage of the situation
N, A
Protector
A person who protects
N
Rascal
A dishonest person
N
Role model
A person whose behaviour is copied by others
N
Romantic
An unrealistic or exceptionally positive point of view
A
Saint
A person of great goodness
N
Scoundrel
A person without honour
N
Vanquisher
A person who conquers through force
N


War 

Word
Definition
Word Class
Affray
A fight in a public place
N, V 
Barrage
A large quantity of artillery fire to protect one’s own advancing or retreating troops
N
Battle
A fight between two opposing military forces
N, V
Carnage
The slaughter of a great number of people
N
Clash
To disagree or to engage in physical conflict
V
Cold war
A political, economic, military rivalry which doesn’t include violence or military action
N
Combat
Active, armed fighting with an enemy force
N
Conflict
A fight that takes over a longer period 
N, V
Contention
A struggle between opponents – a competition
N
Crusade
A long, on-going fight for a particular reason – often led by a religious idea
N
Dispute
To argue, quarrel or debate about something
N, V
Enmity
A feeling of hatred or ill will
N
Fray
A fight or a noisy quarrel
N
Havoc
Great destruction or devastation
N, V
Hostility
Opposition or resistance to an idea, plan or project  
N
Onslaught
A violent attack
N
Ravage
To cause a large amount of damage or havoc
N, V
Skirmish
A small or brisk fight between very few soldiers
N
Struggle
To advance with violent effort or to battle or fight
N, V
Warfare
Armed struggle between two nations or groups of nations 
N


Boredom 

Word
Definition
Word Class
Apathy
A lack of interest, concern, passion for a subject
N
Ardour
With great warmth and feeling
N
Detachment
When a person doesn’t engage with a topic / aspect
N
Eagerness
Impatiently keen or determined to do something
A, N
Ecstasy
Excitement that overpowers a person
N
Elation
A feeling of great joy or pride
N
Exhilaration
To be lively and cheerful
N
Fatigue
To be physically or mentally tired
A
Fervour
With great intensity or belief
N
Frenzy
Wild excitement
N
Indifference
A lack of interest or concern
N
Lassitude
Physical or mental weariness
N
Lethargy
Feeling tired, drowsy and having no energy
N
Listlessness
Showing no interest in something
A
Monotony
A lack of variety and that the same thing is happening all the time
N
Passion
A strong extravagant feeling of fondness, enthusiasm or desire
N
Tedious
Causing a person to be tired or sleepy
A
Tedium
The state of being bored
N
Verve
Showing enthusiasm or spirit
N
Vivacity
Being lively or very animated
N