Creating readers – or literary critics?

While writing this post on the importance of colour symbolism, I was writing about the ways we often expect students to implicitly understand the symbolism in literature, and I wrote the sentence: “it’s part of our job as literary critics to figure out whether that choice is important.” I almost edited it to write “as readers”, but then decided it crystallised a few things for me that I’d been thinking about. One was the ongoing debate about how to create great readers, and the other was something that had stuck in my head from reading the research of model texts …

Why colour matters: symbolism in literature

Towards the end of the summer term, I was teaching a lesson on “Your Shoes”, leading to monologue writing – it’s a nice one, usually provokes interest and some creative responses. But this time, one girl in particular was very frustrated by the shoe imagery and ended up exclaiming “how am I supposed to know that white means innocence?” It got me thinking about the use of literary symbols – what I’ve started thinking of as a literary shorthand – and the way that I often take for granted that students will see some of them. Not all, of course, …

Beyond Levels assessment – our model for KS3

Assessment beyond levels – our approach Every teacher reading this pretty much knows the score with why this is a thing, so I won’t go into it again. Following Monday’s #engchatuk, I thought I’d share our model. Our working party involved all subjects, and we rolled the model out across all department areas in September 2015 – all using the same, thank god! – but I’m only going to cover the English implementation. If any other subject does want a look, I’ll happily provide details. It’s coming to the end of the first year now. Depth of understanding This is …