It has been my great pleasure this week to have spent a lot of time in and around lessons in the English department as part of their self-review and in the true spirit of schools have learnt all sorts of things I didn’t know:
- how to have a silent debate
- why authors use possessive pronouns for different effects
- how shy students can come out of their shell using drama
- why writers think carefully about their choice of verbs
- how one phrase in a text can generate eight minutes of intense discussion
- how personal response is an examined part of A-level English Literature
- what ‘ellipsis’ means and how authors use it in the Gothic genre
- Why Wilfred Owen capitalised his second ‘GAS!’ in Dulce et Decorum Est
- how Google Docs can record hours of virtual discussions between students and staff
- why powerful adverbs at the start of a sentence create tension
- what students think about the value of repetitive work
- how to turn a storyline into a mountain range
- why History students might have an advantage in English Literature
- how the poetry of John Donne can be the basis for a quiz show format
- where lollipop sticks end up
- what ‘EBI’ means
- how my baldness might have been perceived by Victorians as a sign of advanced intelligence (unfortunately I think I am living proof of the error of this idea).
And that was just from snippets of a handful of lessons!
My thanks to Vicki and the English team – I’m certain they would welcome anyone else coming along to look at what they do.