Connecting and organising knowledge in English literature

Reflecting English

Much has been written about the value of knowledge retrieval practice in English literature -it is impossible to think critically about a text until you know it very well. However, I think it is now time to also consider how this knowledge might be connected and organised. In other words, what kinds of mental representations – orschema –should our students be building? What shape should these take for individual texts? What shape should these take for the subject as a whole? And how do we ensure the smooth transfer of this knowledge to the extended essay format which isfavoured by summative examinations?

Each text is represented by a number of interwoven knowledge frameworks. These include:

  • knowledge of plot, events, character, setting – and associated inferences;
  • knowledge of the text’s thematic breadth and its ‘big ideas’;
  • knowledge of the writer’s methods and devices;
  • knowledge of contextual factors.

These frameworks also sit…

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