How to make any text relevant to your students using essential questions

The Relevance Trap It’s become the go-to question when English teachers are looking for new texts to teach: My students don’t read the books I used to assign. These old books don’t have anything to do with my students’ lives. They can’t see themselves in my usual texts. What new texts can I teach thatContinue reading “How to make any text relevant to your students using essential questions”

Beginning a unit with a preview text: Using the Amleth legend to introduce Shakespeare’s Hamlet

There’s a certain kind of student who loves to remind you that Shakespeare “stole” most of his stories from other sources, usually citing this as a reason why the bard isn’t so great after all. But this knowledge can also be used to a teacher’s advantage. I like to start off my teaching of HamletContinue reading “Beginning a unit with a preview text: Using the Amleth legend to introduce Shakespeare’s Hamlet”

Literature and Literacy: What’s the point of English?

Schools make students take English for longer than any other subject. At the same time, English has become less about literature and more about literacy. Should it be? When I was in year twelve, on the heels of an exciting assignment in one subject and some less wonderful test results in another, I started toContinue reading “Literature and Literacy: What’s the point of English?”