Today I tried a simple tweak in my introduction to 1984.
My colleague Brian Taylor (see his work here!) created a useful resource where students considered 1984’s contemporary implications by reading examples of state-sanctioned oppression.
A slight tweak at the end was to ask students to decide what themes they would choose. I was careful to ask them to decide how would they organise their feelings or emotions or thoughts about the articles they read. Their chosen concepts were impressive:
Without checking the themes that I had collated, there was a remarkable correlation between the list I had chosen, and what they had detected.
When asking my students what their main concept was, most chose ‘control’ – the same concept I selected.
The conversation over Zoom breakout rooms was rich and engaged yet distinctly academic. We will see if this ambition to induct whilst still retaining quality literature pedagogy is possible to sustain.