‘Can you do anything to help Brian? He’s got a Macbeth exam coming up,‘ said my Dearest Partner of Greatness.
Brian is not his real name. He’s a nephew. Being a typically feckless Y10 lad, none of us have any idea whether he has read the play, or seen it, or what type of test / exam he has coming up, or when it might be. We doubt Brian knows himself.
So what’s to do, for someone with a target of 4 (for overseas visitors, the highest target at GCSE is 9, and 4 tends to be the grade employers ask for as a minimum) and a complete disinterest in English?
Time to work my magic, and on my birthday, too! Time, in fact, for a mindmap – it’s almost a present being asked to do one, because I LOVE a nice mindmap.
It’s not wasted, if Brian doesn’t use it, either. All the students I teach will have to deal with an extract from the play, and as I have said elsewhere, I don’t play games trying to predict what will come up. I also have to accept that for many, it will be an UNSEEN extract, unless they have been revising far harder than I tend to give them credit for …
For a while now I’ve been thinking of a hopefully simple way to mitigate against panic, confusion or two years’ worth of laziness on the students’ parts. I shouldn’t have to address the latter, but this is the real world. At least it absolutely follows my general ethos, that I ought to be teaching skills, not the answers to questions that might come up.
So, the following is a KISS version of dealing with Macbeth, broadly aimed at the AQA specification but hopefully following general principles which will assist for exam boards across the UK. The content that isn’t specific to the play ought to be transferrable to other works, too. I’ve deliberately pitched it to be useful to Brian and students similarly estimated to get 4s or 5s in their exams.
If you use it, I’d appreciate some feedback, not least because I want to develop this organically …