CONCURRENT WORKSHOPS | 16:00 to 17:00
2A Defence Against the Dark Utterance: From Fence-Sitting to Fencing
The workshop will look at how to conduct a ‘defence’ against ambiguity, whose presence in a literary text normally meets with anxiety in the student and teacher. It will begin with a lecture followed by a hands-on session spent looking at extracts from prose and poetry. Some of the questions that this session will address are: Why are writers ambiguous? What are some productive ways in which we can approach the ambiguous? How can the ambiguous be made less terrifying and more exciting? What can we find to say about it other than the clichés such as ‘it is all left up to us to imagine’?
2B Appreciating the Writer’s Craft: Exploring the Literary and Theatrical Dimensions of the Anthology Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed
This workshop is designed in two parts. The first part will explore close reading and drama-based strategies that will allow teachers to bring out the literary qualities and theatrical possibilities of the texts. Through this process, it will examine the all-important issue of writers’ craft and what that means specifically when studying the dramatic genre. The second part of the workshop will involve a panel discussion with the featured playwrights in the anthology, moderated by the workshop facilitator and editor.
2C Constructing Significant Questions to Facilitate and Assess Understanding of Complex and Ambiguous Poetic Texts
As teachers, we are often discouraged from spoon-feeding our students with prescriptive literary answers as that would hamper their growth as critical thinkers. How then can we guide our students to make sense of complex poetic texts that are often ambiguous? In this workshop, participants will be offered a range of poems that are structurally and conceptually complex and guided to construct significant questions to help their students unpack the meaning of the texts and assess their understanding.
2D Performative Literacy: The Cultivation of Twenty-First Century Readers
This workshop will demonstrate the key elements of an instructional programme designed to develop and strengthen the capacity of students to read, interpret, and criticise challenging texts. It will also answer the question that makes many teachers fearful of a Literature programme designed to help students become independent readers: How can we ensure that the interpretations students produce are based on intellectually authoritative processes that yield responsible readings that students can explain and defend in discussion and writing? This workshop will also provide participants with a theoretical understanding of how and why the demonstrated practices are likely to be effective and can be modified or customised for use in different settings with different groups of students.
2E Empathy and the Other
The Literature in English Teaching and Learning Syllabus 2019 signals a marked shift by foregrounding that students are to be Empathetic and Global Thinkers. The argument that Literature imbues empathy is based on the theory that fiction is a simulation of selves and their interactions in the social world. In fiction, readers encounter the Other embodied in characters of difference. Every encounter with the Other is unavoidably ambiguous. By encouraging us to imaginatively become someone else, Literature provides access to the consciousness of another character, interrupts normalised stereotypes, interrogates oppressive injustices and develops empathetic ways of seeing the world. Using Hook and Eye and other texts, this session seeks to offer teachers practical strategies that can be used in the classroom to encourage students to empathise with the Other.
2F Working with Ambiguity in Poetry
In ordinary speech and writing, ambiguity is undesirable and generally unintentional. It signifies a lack of clarity in expression and thought. But in poetry, there is a special role for intentional as well as involuntary ambiguity. It can enrich meaning, showing how complexity of experience and feeling requires a corresponding complexity of thought and language. In creative writing, ambiguity works closely with ambivalence, and it also works with the linguistic phenomenon known as the pun. The workshop will show how ambiguity plays a significant role in poetry, and how we might deal with it as readers and teachers of poetry.
2G Lines of Sight – Responding to Poetry
An introduction to reading and responding to poems facilitated by poet Marc Nair, this workshop seeks to answer the following questions: What does it mean to respond meaningfully to a poem? How valid is personal response? How critical is context? Participants will explore the context of the poem, considering social impact, factors of its production and the role of the poet as commentator, critic or observer, and fashion their own response to the text to explore the ambiguity of close reading. They will also engage in a creative writing component that will give them insight into the value of how creative writing deepens students’ understanding of poetry.
2H Using the Literary Response Framework to Read and Analyse Texts
How can teachers make use of the Literary Response Framework (LRF) in their Literature classroom? What do they need to know and do to design learning experiences that will enable their students to explore texts in a holistic manner? How will they ensure that the Learning Outcomes and Knowledge, Skills and Dispositions (KSDs) are attained? This workshop seeks to answer these pertinent questions.
2I Poetry Moves
Poems are often taught as individual pieces of writing and decontextualised from the study of other poems. This workshop demonstrates how students may be taught to make meaningful connections across poems. Using poems from Poetry Moves, a new anthology of poems for upper secondary students, the facilitators will demonstrate how best to select poetry clusters to teach and deepen students’ understanding of themes and poetic devices. Teachers will learn effective strategies for making meaningful connections between poems, and explore how to make personal connections between poetry and social reality.