1 Identity agency, voice, character, narrator, reader, author. ATL: Teaching developed in local and global contexts and Social Skills


While good mental health requires the relative stability of identity, understanding cultural relativism can, I think, actually help that. Adolescents are characterised by their need to see themselves as distinctive from their family at an age where distinctiveness in their peer-group is perhaps problematic.

Within this, it must be said that international students, by the nature of their demographic, operate within at the very least a local elite, and perhaps even an international elite. Encouraging awareness of different interpretations through textual analysis, of engaging in genuinely critical discussion of some of the more salubrious attitudes common in society is key to establish identity.

Having taught the IB before, I think it is interesting how the IB has an emphasis on Western Enlightenment thinking that can sometimes be antithetical to Asian communal-minded thought.

2 Culture

imagination, assembly, engagement, originality, pastiche, collage.

ATL: Teaching developed in local and global contexts and Thinking Skills

Rationale: As with identity, culture is perhaps best understood through awareness of relativity. Culture is most easily determined outside the classroom by physical manifestations of difference. Therefore, more conceptual approaches to teaching aspects of culture, based on effective collaboration and teamwork, is I think a necessity to address this course concept.

3 Creativity ATL: Teaching Designed to Remove Barriers to Learning, Self-Management Skills

I liked how it was said earlier that part of creativity is not seeing it as the preserve of the elite. To do that, we should see creativity as not simply entirely original thinking. Understanding how to take one idea in one context and placing or applying it in another is creativity. One example of this could be Rosenblatt’s call to emphasise   reader-response approaches to textual analysis rather than overly prioritising close-reading. An over-reliance on rubrics and formulas – easy to do when working under those who focus on managing procedures rather than inspiring thinking – should be something we are all aware of in the IB.

4 Communication

cooperation, transfer, reading, writing, speaking, listening, viewing, performing.

ATL: Teaching based on Assessment, Communication Skills

Rationale: The transactional nature of communication means that at its best, it adapts responsively to the listeners. Therefore, I am emphasising here the need to encourage reflection of the written communication process through both the modelling and pedagogy of shared writing. Demonstrating to students that the writing process is idiosyncratic will be very helpful to them. It will develop not only metacognitive strategies to monitor the effectiveness of communication but also an awareness of the right times to use those strategies.

5 Perspective

idea, point-of-view, interpretations, suppositions, bias.

ATL: Teaching based on Inquiry and Collaboration, Research Skills


This course concept deals with the essential nature of understanding how attitudes and cultural forces form a text, both inside and outside it.  Researching and sharing different interpretations of a text is useful. For highly constructed texts, like Frankenstein of some of the longer Duffy poems, searching for where the focalisation of perspective has ‘leaked’ into different chapters and sharing those findings can also be illuminating.

6 Transformation

connections, change, borrowing, building, performance.

ATL: Teaching Focused on Conceptual Understanding, Social Skills

Rationale: Seeing how an idea can evolve across different texts involves separating it from its immediate context. Like with my intertextuality poster, tracking Petrarchan love from literary conceit to ‘incel’ forum board culture would require the teacher to guide conceptual understanding. It is also interesting how transformation also relating to the transactional relationship a reader shares with a text: perhaps Bruno Mars can be a romantic Petrarchan whereas an anonymous incel forum board user is an anti-social basement dweller!

7 Representation reflection, refraction, accuracy, detachment. ATL: Teaching Based on Inquiry, Research Skills

Rationale: To really be able to understand how people and places can be understood requires research on different aspects. Alan November was particularly good in demonstrating how research into the Iranian Hostage Crisis is reframed in remarkably pro-Western terms by Google. Our students should ideally be aware of these filter-bubbles, and able to critique how they approach representations of people and societies.