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To Learn or Not to Learn

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Summary

Behaviour expert John Bayley gives practical advice to a deputy head of English struggling to engage his Year 11 vocational students in Romeo and Juliet, in this pedagogy resource.

Studying Shakespeare with Key Stage 4 pupils who have to take the class as a condition of their vocational GCSEs is challenging Nick Smith's five years' teaching experience. Even worse, he's been timetabled in an IT suite at Islington Green School.

John and Nick develop a range of strategies to engage the students, based around a more patient and explicit explanation of the secondary literature lesson objectives. Using John's classroom-management advice, Nick also plays to the students' particular learning styles, asking the class to represent the plot of the play either in words, music, as a rap song or in pictures.

All but one of the students favour the last of these options and consequently the class is much more focused.

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