“Books are mirrors, windows, or sliding-glass doors”

Reading Time: 1 minute

Rudine Sims Bishop [the author and educator] says that books are either mirrors, windows or sliding-glass doors, and that’s important in the act of resistance. You need that mirror to see yourself, to know what you can be and know what you are. And then you need that window to see into someone else’s life so you can understand what’s happening around you in the world that you may not notice at first glance. And you need the sliding-glass door so that you can step into someone else’s life and walk in with some empathy and use that empathy to make yourself heard.

Angie Thomas Q&A with The Guardian

Writing the comparison question for OCR A-Level

Reading Time: 2 minutes The OCR English Literature specification is great in lots of ways, but the AO balancing is a little strange. The comparative question, for which I teach Rossetti’s poetry and A Doll’s House, is 50% AO3 – Demonstrate understanding of the significance and influence of the contexts in which literary texts are written and received. Examiner training is explicit that the way to determine a mark is holistically (is it competent, good or excellent) then shade the mark within the band to fine-tune the mark. However, it feels as a teacher that you do need to foreground the dominant assessment objective to meet …

Building vocabulary through pairing of words

Reading Time: 2 minutes I occasionally have a competition with my classes, to find a pair of words in English that have precisely the same denotation and connotation (which is a nice way to introduce those terms as well.)   Basically, they provide pairs of words that they think are the same, and I explain why that’s not true. It builds competitiveness – especially when I get two classes going at the same time and they want to win first – and it gets them exposed to a wide range of language and meaning, as they start looking for ways to win! Although we …