QotW (#61): 12 November 2018

BH ken dodd
Ken Dodd (and his infamous tickling stick):  ‘I haven’t spoken to my mother-in-law in eighteen months.  I don’t like to interrupt …’

You probably know my taste for puerile humour by now.

This joke (and there are many versions of it knocking around) has been a favourite since before I got married, a good twenty years ago.  You can imagine how well it went down, the first time I used it on my (rather fierce) ex-mother-in-law.  I received what we might call an ‘old-fashioned look’, with added chilli.  Nowadays, poking fun at someone’s verbosity is also self-referential, because, yes, I unashamedly like to talk!  In my defence, it’s because I ‘live’ in 1592.

Which leads me nicely to this week’s QotW

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PTS 12/076: Keep Your Snake In Its Cage, Boy …

The more I admire Juliet, the more protective I get about her …

BH watching you

PTS read-through:  Romeo and Juliet, Act II, sc. ii

‘He jests at scars that never felt a wound.’ (II.ii.1) [a]

This is one of the reasons why I avoid teaching R&J at GCSE.

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PTS 12/073: A Truth Universally Acknowledged

with apologies to Jane Austen …

BH netherfield ball

… that, perhaps, a single GIRL in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a husband?

PTS read through:  Romeo and Juliet, Act I, sc ii

Hmmm, what to make of this scene?

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Continuum of Plausibility™

‘You will, generally, be rewarded for originality, but the crazier your argument is, the better your reasoning should be’.

Continuum of Plausibility.001

Originally intended as a confidence-builder for the chronically-tentative, it’s become a cliché in my teaching that ‘in English, there’s no such thing as a wrong answer’. Increasingly, though, and especially at A Level, I’m finding it necessary to qualify that empowering notion.  Perhaps students were getting a little too emboldened, as we’ll see below.  Just as Squealer in Animal Farm reminds us that ‘Some animals are more equal than others’, some answers are – obviously – better than others. [a]

Almost organically, as I refined the concept, it came to be known as The Continuum of Plausibility™.  I’ve been using the term here, off and on, for a while now without properly explaining it, so here goes.

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Cultural Capital 07: Tragedy

We loved a fall from grace as much then as we do now …

BH travolta tragedy
For Christ’s sake, can’t you see I’m busy, Ophelia? Get thee to a nunnery!

[this article first appeared in the in-house magazine I edit for our sixth-form English students]

Tragedy!  When the  feeling’s gone and you can’t go on …

It’s not that long ago that I appalled a class by stating that whilst the death of a pet dog might be ‘quite sad’, it definitely wasn’t ‘tragic’. ^

I definitely spend too much time in the late 16th century!

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To scheme, or not to scheme …

Should I oppose the slings and arrows of teaching the same thing year in, year out?

Julius Caesar SOW

… THAT is the question occupying my thoughts at the moment.

No, this isn’t a Machiavellian masterplan for world domination (although see below, perhaps it’s just part of one).

What you see above is the bare bones of a 12-week (forty-eight lesson!) Scheme of Work on Julius Caesar that I’ve been toying with producing over the summer.  I’m hoping for advice – not just on the skeleton of the scheme (although that would be highly appreciated), but on whether or not to bother …

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QotW: 16 July 2018 (#49)

Hot ice and wondrous strange snow: the appetite for articulation …

BH DeLorean_Launch
Destination 1592 … [a]
Frequently, I ask my class to step into the time machine and join me back in 1592.

Why then?

Conveniently, it’s as close as we can get to dating both Richard III and Edward II, my Key Stage 5 texts.  The other plays I teach at the moment – Much Ado About Nothing and Macbeth – follow on from here.

This period was a crucible in which Drama as we know it was being born, alchemically transmuted from the didactic Morality Plays into something fresh and exciting.  With my Marxist critical hat on, if we can understand the contextual elements poured into that cauldron, we can better appreciate and analyse the resultant heady brew.

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