Considering context

An important part of English is understanding when something was produced and how that might have affected the messages within it, the plot, the characterisation and a whole range of other elements in a text. Not only that, but students need to consider how a contemporary reader may have received a text differently to the way we might interpret it now.

In my teaching of A Christmas Carol to Year Ten I needed to find a way to get them to read and remember a range of different information but in a more creative way. This was my attempt:

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Starter based on what they already know about the character

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Students worked well to read and understand some complex information and report back to their group. The element of competition meant they worked hard to explain it to the person designing the poster. They also had to have strong team work in order to present what they had found and show that they truly understood what they were reading.

This was just an introduction to some context and so the idea was for students to understand the basics and be able to locate evidence of this in the text. We followed this up with a series of more comprehensive lessons in which they watched some moving image materials, applied their knowledge and showed developed understanding of the ways contextual factors may affect a reader’s interpretation.

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