Over this week I have been engaged in a projects with a KS4 class to improve their responses to poetry. In the process I am conscious of my influence by three things:

a) A CPD sessions with Thomas, author of ‘Shakespearience’, who spoke about the necessary shift of focus from technique spotting and PEE to more fluid, and therefore (conversely?) more rigorous responses to poetry.

b) Rosen’s recent diatribes against the teaching of poetry in primary schools, especially in relation to the spotting of such techniques as rhyme.

c) The use of visual search engine images to support comprehension (especially in regards to concepts) on an ad-hoc basis.

To this end I have:

– Used Bing search engine to create visual representations of key words and explanations of both the students and myself. I might use a wireless keyboard to avoid the recent bobbing to my desk. Students seem more receptive, and the use of multiple images over multiple times (for example, with the term ‘analyse’) seem to lead to increased conceptualisation of these terms.

– Guided students to analyse the poems at word level, focussing on patterns of connotations and tone, rather than just received comprehension. However, the comprehension of dominant interpretations is still necessary, of course.

– Allocated several lessons to students creating a PowerPoint based upon the visual representation of a stanza. The issue with this, though, is that despite the vast amount of computer use by some students, the ability to draw together visual representations of poetry on a PowerPoint is not easily forthcoming. Even with modelling, and scaffolding via template, I think that visual representations might be best completed by hand (I know!). The main benefit of computer use is the searching of images of concepts.

That might be the future focus.