Developing context in the pre-1900 question – Rossetti and A Doll’s House

Reading Time: 5 minutes Sometimes my students probably think I’m either a sadistic, a bit loopy, or both. I LOVE this question from the OCR comparative pre-1900 paper: Endings are always, in some sense, artificial.’ In the light of this view, consider ways in which writers conclude their work. And the reason I love it is because it’s SO GOOD for teaching them how to address the balance of assessment objectives. It’s so easy with this question to ignore the fact that it’s 50% context. There’s an OCR blog that explores what context actually is in more detail, including some examples and this nifty …

Manageable revision – Rossetti and A Doll’s House

Reading Time: 3 minutes Been thinking about a few different strategies for A-Level recently, but one lesson I think is really valuable in prepping revision techniques is this one. Here’s a list of 60 comparative questions (OCR, pre-1900 drama and poetry) Put them on separate cards (or get students to cut them up first) Get them to categorise into themes e.g. love, death, power, gender Discuss. It’s great. It’s the only ‘card sort’ type thing I ever do, but why it works so well is it really crystallises their exam preparation. This isn’t a teaching the texts and concepts lesson; it’s pure exam/revision technique. It’s …

Beauty and ugliness in Jekyll and Hyde

Reading Time: 7 minutes If it is a book of anything, Jekyll and Hyde is a book of appearance versus reality, and one of Stevenson’s key methods is to explore beauty, ugliness, and the Victorian belief that the soul is reflected on the outside. This isn’t just a Victorian belief, either: think of the sheer volume of characters whose inner beauty is reflected in their golden shiny hair, fit bodies, muscular physiques or tall statures. And think of the villains – often deformed or disabled, physically twisted to match their inner state. Think Shakespeare’s Richard III’s (fictional) hunchback, Chaucer’s pilgrims’ noses and chins. It’s …

Dressing for my own identity

Reading Time: 5 minutes Clothes are so important, aren’t they? With teachers returning to schools this week, my Twitter timeline has been full of teachers with their ‘back to school wardrobes’. There’s a lot of the Harkel rainbow pencil skirts, the Popsy maths dresses and the Popsy crayon dress, among others. Clothes make us feel comfortable, or safe, or more professional. Everyone has their own quirks and preferences. An outfit that makes us feel powerful. Most men also can’t fathom the glee that comes from discovering your dress actually has pockets!!

Why are predicted grades so hard to give, and can we change it?

Reading Time: 13 minutes It’s been a difficult old year when it comes to predictions (and so many things, but let’s stay focused!). I’m not going to specifically explore my own statistics here – it isn’t fair to any individuals involved – but I’m interested in the reasons that predictions are often so inaccurate when compared with exam results. This year in particular, it’s especially important: today’s announement that Scotland have regraded everyone in line with centre assessment may or may not affect Thursday, but we should consider this for our own good in the future. Predictions are important. With them, we know who …