Module A: Exploring Connections between “Looking For Richard” and “Richard III”



As I said in the previous post, this year I have changed my approach to teaching the Modules in the HSC Advanced course. I have included a link to the unit I prepared and taught on Module A at the beginning of this post. The difficulty, for me, has always been the shift from text based study to concept based. What this has usually meant is that I run out of time because I have tended to separate the concept from the close study and then come back to the concept at the end of the teaching unit. This always comes to a head when I teach the poetry, whichever Module it is in. I attempt to do a close analysis of each poem (which can take 3-5 lessons) and we never get through all the poems in class time. While students have had a sound understanding of texts and concepts, they often haven’t had enough time to refine their thinking.  NSW teachers may find this unit useful and /or interesting. Generally the model I am using goes something like this:

  • Developing questions from the rubric to guide student learning.
  • Building the field around the concepts and the texts at the same time.
  • Identifying 2 or 3 broad themes or features of the texts.
  • Using one broad theme or feature as a starting point and moving into and out of the text.
  • Moving onto another broad theme or feature and moving into and out of the text.
  • Returning to the guide questions to summarise the Module.

To do this, students have been responsible for their engagement with the text, since we only analyse and discuss relevant and representative parts of the text in class. They are expected to read, view and analyse the whole text outside of the classroom. Naturally, this has led to some students choosing not to read whole texts. In the AOS I attempted to overcome this by setting an assignment where students chose their own questions to respond to, requiring them to read the whole text to make those choices. In Module A, I was very explicit that we would not view the whole film in the classroom (they all had a copy of the DVD) or read the whole play. Generally, most students viewed the film and read enough of the play in class, or through homework tasks, that they had read most of it. Students who had read the whole play generally got more out of lessons than those who didn’t, but all students knew enough to participate in class discussions and complete homework and assessment.

Is it working? I think so. Their assessment work across the class suggests every student has a better understanding of the Module and the texts, and what to use as evidence. This is particularly important in Module A because two whole texts are compared, and they have to consider the impact of composer’s context on questions of value. I am interested in comments on this. Does my unit look different to the way you teach it? Have I missed something important?

About lyntiernan

I teach kids. Mostly English but sometimes good manners, how to have fun learning, that you are never too old to learn something new, that we all make mistakes and what we do about mistakes is who we become, that the future is not some place we are going to but a place we are creating and... I like learning and adapting new technology in the classroom I'm good with my new IWB, websites and email but hopeless with mobile phones!

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