Teaching Poetry: Vocabulary Matters

Several months ago, I was observing a colleague within the English Department. The class was studying poetry from world war one. Their books were immaculate and showed real engagement with some difficult poems. It was clear from observing their behaviour and looking at the quality of work that they had been taught very well. After around…

Old books, New Surprises.

I had a marvellous moment in class last week. I discovered something new about a book that I thought I knew inside out, a book that I’d taught many times and read cover to cover on many, many occasions. We were revising Of Mice and Men, in preparation for the prose exam next week. Our focus…

Teaching Poetry: Five ways in

I find teaching poetry to be one of the most difficult aspects of being an English teacher. To so many students I teach, poems are impenetrable puzzles, or written in language so unfamiliar that their first instinct is to balk before we’ve even began. It’s also an area I’ve struggled with. I’ve spent far too much…