Wednesday 08 Mar 2023
English Literature in G9

English Literature

For us Chinese students, even though Mandarin is our mother tongue, it is not easy to accomplish something in literature. Not to mention the fact that we are not native English speakers, it is difficult and challenging to reach the level of "literature" above the basic standards. In addition to the literature pieces from the textbook, students need to read more spontaneously, which may help them feel more passionate about reading.

The GCSE literature class is a first language class which focuses on the study of literary works from the Anglo-world. Students learn how to study and analyse poems, novels, and plays. The course is demanding in terms of English proficiency. Classroom activities focus on all key language skills, including reading, writing, speaking, and listening.

The aims of the course include (but are not limited to): 

● Understanding and responding to literary texts in different forms and from different periods and cultures

● Experiencing literature's contribution to aesthetic, imaginative and intellectual growth.

● Exploring the contribution of literature to an understanding of areas of human concern.   

Additionally, through the study of seminal literary works, the course aims to foster in the students a love of reading and to expand their knowledge of English language literature.

Research has shown that reading fiction has the proven capacity to make readers more open-minded, empathetic, and compassionate. These are invaluable attributes not only for forming well-rounded adults, but also for developing the necessary cultural and intellectual awareness for studying in a foreign environment. The study of this course expands the students' understanding of western history and culture, which in turn aids their future studies abroad.  

This year, students have read literary works from authors and poets as varied as Margaret Atwood, Wilfred Owen, and Alfred Tennyson. The authors on the reading list originate from English speaking countries all around the globe, from Singapore to the UK to Canada. Over the coming year, students will continue to study historic works from authors including Shakespeare and HG Wells.


Gallery Walk

This activity is usually called a gallery walk. Students are initially asked to create a mind map in which they put their ideas about a particular subject on paper.

On this occasion, students were assigned different characters from our class novel and asked to find and analyze at least three quotations in the text that link to those characters. Students were instructed that the quotations should be revealing of the characters in the story and link with the overall themes of the novel. 

The students initially create a mind map with their own ideas. Each student's mind map is then hung around the room and the class are asked to walk around and read their peers' work ( similar to walking around an art gallery). They then write their own ideas on each mind map, creating a collaborative final piece. 

Students will build on their quotation bank which they can use when writing analytical essays in their GCSE paper. They also engage in a deeper way with the themes of the novel and their own (as well as their peers') feelings about these. The subtle teamwork element to this activity can also enhance students' appreciation for working together and learning from each other, as well as empathy for other people's points of view. 

Mr. Stables

English Teacher

I'm lucky to have a class full of students who really enjoy literature and engage with the material, I knew an activity like this could work really well with them. We always try to vary class activities to keep lessons engaging and exciting. This particular activity is just another way to encourage students to work together and learn from each other through collaborative discussion.

On a separate photograph you'll also see what's called a "hot seat" activity, in which one of the students roleplays as one of the characters from the novel and answers questions from the class. This activity should again increase empathy as it requires students to put themselves in the shoes of a character whom they may not have thought about too much until now. 

Reflections from Students

Joanna Carmalt: I made a draft on Pages , then when I’m satisfied with it I copy it on A4 paper so I don’t make any mistakes. I checked the mark scheme when I’m planning the poster, I gathered quotes and I analyse each quotes. Then I drew pictures that helps for guiding. 

CoCo Gu:Before making the mind map , I always make sure that I clearly know the main theme or topic for this. Start with the topic and use divergent thinking to try to find branching points or ideas , then fill in the details.After that , I put all the thoughts and points I have on paper. Sometimes I ‘ll do some decoration to make the mind map more ornamental.

I think making a mind map is a very good way to analyze or clarify topics in a simple and timesaving way. For example , we made a mind map about the symbolization of animals in Life Of Pi last week.And I need to analyze Richard Parker , which is a hard-to-read character and has lots of details to ‘tidy’ .Making a mind map took much less time than scanning the book. The ideas are very clear and neat.