KS4 English Literature

Modules 1 & 2 - Malorie Blackman's 'Boys Don't Cry'

Core declarative knowledge: What should students know?

  • What is a Bildungsroman?
  • What is a social realist text?
  • What is Todorov’s archetypal narrative theory?
  • What is Joseph Campbell’s hero journey?
  • What is a dual narrative?
  • What is the difference between descriptive and presriptive gender stereotypes?
  • What are the different types of masculinty?
  • What is internalised homophobia?
  • What was the black british social and political context of the early 20th century?
  • What is the content of Boys Don’t Cry?
  • What are the central themes of the text?

Core procedural knowledge: What should students be able to do?

  • Be able to explain – clearly and precisely – the extent to which the novel’s title sets the precedent for the novel’s themes;
  • Be able to explain – clearly and precisely – how Blackman’s structuring of content creates meaning;
  • Be able to explain – clearly and precisely – the different themes explored in the text, with reference to key moments in the novel;
  • Be able to explain the relationship between these different themes and points of overlap;
  • Be able to explain – clearly and precisely – the relationship between form, theme and context;
  • Be able to find appropriate evidence to support one’s viewpoint;
  • Be able to construct a clear and concise thesis statement;
  • Be able to explain and apply understanding of essay writing conventions and the use of academic register.

Links to prior learning (to be made explicit and tested)

Through their study of this text, students will learn about the wider implications surrounding current issues such as single parenthood, teenage pregnancy, race and sexuality; issues students may find relatable and thus encourage and promote ownership of their learning. Through critical thinking and philosophical discussions surrounding the themes raised in ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, they will deepen their understanding and knowledge of these topics. However, when teaching this unit, we should emphasise, at every teaching opportunity, links to prior texts studied when instructing on:

  • Form (meaning type and genre): How does a social realist Bildungsroman compare to other forms studied (epic poetry, lyric poetry, tragic plays, Romantic and 19th century novels);
  • Context: How is the context similar to other modern novels studied (particularly the work of Dickens and Harper Lee)?;
  • Structure: Draw parallels between the archetypal narrative structure and Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s journey with The Odyssey, Beowulf and Don Quixote; contrast this with the narrative structure of Macbeth, Dr Faustus and Okonkwo.
  • Theme: Compare the theme of Family with the alienation of Frankenstein’s monster; compare the theme of Growing up with The Odyssey and TKaM; compare the theme of masculinity with Macbeth and Okonkwo.
Modules 3 & 4 - Shakespeare's 'Romeo & Juliet'

Core declarative knowledge: What should students know?

  • What are the conventions of a tragic play?
  • What is hamartia?
  • What are the four traits of a tragic hero?
  • What is peripeteia?
  • What is a petrachan lover?
  • What is dramatic irony?
  • What is foreshadowing?
  • What are the values of the Renaissance?
  • How do the values of Renaissance Humanism differ with what came before?
  • What is a monologue?
  • What is a soliloquy?
  • What is stagecraft?
  • What is classical allusion?
  • What is biblical allusion?

Core procedural knowledge: What should students be able to do?

  • Be able to identify the conventions of tragedy within the text;
  • Be able to explain – clearly and concisely – the four traits of a tragic hero and identify them in Romeo’s character and actions;
  • Be able to explain the contextual significance surrounding the play and its impact on content and characters;
  • Be able to explain the difference between Medieval values and Renaissance values;
  • Be able to explain the significance of classical and Christian references within the play;
  • Be able to effectively identify and explain the use of dramatic irony, monologue and soliloquy;
  • Be able to explain the impact of the play on a contemporary audience;
  • Be able to explain the impact of the play on subsequent depictions of romantic love;
  • Be able to explain – clearly and precisely – the relationship between form, theme and context;
  • Be able to find appropriate evidence to support one’s viewpoint;
  • Be able to construct a clear and concise thesis statement;
  • Be able to explain and apply understanding of essay writing conventions and the use of academic register.

Links to prior learning (to be made explicit and tested)

When teaching this unit, we should emphasise, at every teaching opportunity, links to prior texts studied when instructing on:

  • Form: Similarities and differences to Macbeth, Doctor Faustus and Okonkwo within the context of tragic form; similarities and differences to the narrative arc of Classical heroes and those who fulfil their potential (Odysseus, Beowulf, Dante);
  • Context: How are the values of the Renaissance being both celebrated and condemned in Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Marlowe’s Faustus;
  • Structure: Compate to the narrative structure of Macbeth, Dr Faustus and Okonkwo.
  • Theme: Compare the theme of Family with the alienation of Frankenstein’s monster and the supprot provided to Dante and Adam in Boys Don’t Cry; Compare the theme of individual desire usurping traditional forms of authority, as per Macbeth and Dr Faustus.
Modules 5 & 6 - Poetry: Belonging Anthology

Core declarative knowledge: What should students know?

  • What are the key ideas and themes from the poems in the anthology?
  • How do the key ideas and themes from the poems interlink?
  • What is the context of each of the poems?
  • What do the following poetic terms mean?
  • Can you provide examples of these from the anthology along with the meaning created?

    • Simile
    • Metaphor
    • Personification
    • Repetition
    • Onomatopoeia
    • Alliteration
    • Assonance
    • Sibilance
    • Hyperbole
    • Lexical set
    • Juxtaposition
    • Third-person narrator
    • First-person narrator
  • What are the following structural terms?

    • Verse
    • Stanza
    • Quatrain
    • Octave
    • Sestet
    • Speaker
    • Rhyme
    • Rhythm
    • Couplet
    • Metre
    • Free verse
    • Volta
    • Blank verse
    • Enjambment
    • End-stop
    • Caesura
    • Iamb
    • Trochee
    • Spondee
    • Dactyl
    • Anapest
    • Amphibrach
    • Feet

Core procedural knowledge: What should students be able to do?

  • Be able to create comparative topic sentences about the key poems;
  • Be able to successfully embed quotations from two poems;
  • Be able to precisely analyse a range of poetic techniques (structure, form and language);
  • Be able to use comparative connectives to accurately explain similarities and differences between the poems;
  • Be able to compare with precision different methods used by poets to explore a theme;
  • Be able to express an individual interpretation of each poem which is grounded in evidence;
  • Explain how each poem relates to the overarching theme of belonging;
  • Explain how tone can change across a range of poems within the collection.

Links to prior learning (to be made explicit and tested)

When teaching this unit, we should emphasise, at every teaching opportunity, links to prior texts studied when instructing on:

  • Form and Structure: similarities and differences to epic poetry, the sonnet form previously studied, Romantic poetry and modernist poetry.
  • Context and Theme: Draw on Romantic values when discussing the ELH poems; draw on Achebe’s TFA and Blackman’s Boys Don’t Cry when exploring contemporary, postcolonial poems.