Teaching ‘Broken April’ or ‘Leo Africanus?”

If by chance you are studying either of these texts--Broken April by Ismail Kadare or Leo Africanus by Amin Maalouf--I've two suggestions of supplementary materials that can enhance both your work with students and also with their Interactive Orals. I know that Kadare's work is the more popular of the two, and I've had both the experience of including it in Part 1 with great success and of reading Written Assignments that handle it successfully, the latter as an examiner.  The ...

Cloze exercises with a Twist

Here is a little more developed approach to cloze exercises.  I particularly like the aspect of having the students develop their own short contributions.  Many of you probably use this technique with poetry, but here is a nice adaptation to prose.  And possibly short dramatic scenes lend themselves to the same practice. A proposal for work with close reading from Nataliya Tsvetkova, teacher of the Russian A Literature course In order to ensure that students have well understood and remembered the details ...

Facing up to the IA assessment: the dreaded oral

This is a tough one, and there's no doubt about that.  Here are a few bits of good advice selected from various teachers. Collaborative advice from teachers for HL/SL candidates facing the IA for Part 2 Preparation through the year Take good notes in class, mark up your poems or passages, and all of your Part 2 works, color code, so that you have easily accessible materials to revisit for review for both the IOC and the HL discussion. Pace your review, ...

If you’re teaching any of the Greek plays…

...I want to recommend the work of Daniel Mendelsohn, which appears in many places if you Google his name + Greek plays.  His most recent offering in the New York Review of Books: 'How Greek Drama Saved the City' confirms my sense that I can learn a very great deal from him, a great deal that I can pass on to my students and colleagues.  His very readable discussion of how the plays we often teach from this era fit ...

Beyond ‘Persepolis’

Much good work is being done with Persepolis, both in Parts 1 and 4.  Do remind students, however, that including address of both the words and the images is expected in order to recognize the nature of the work. I would like to point out that there are two other works on the PLT that you might consider for Part 1.  The first is Marguerite Abouet's work, Aya, set in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.  This is also an autobiographical work and quite ...

Camus’ ‘L’Etranger’ : a new angle

In the past year, Kamel Daoud won the Prix Goncourt for a work called The Meursault Investigation. In this work the Algerian novelist and journalist, offers what the New Yorker calls 'A tour de force reimagining of Camus's The Stranger, from the point of view of the mute Arab victims.' In the tradition of post-colonial 'talking back,' Daoud offers a 143 page account of Meursault's shooting of 'the Arab' from the point of view of the brother of the dead ...

Introductions (Part 3): Nailing it in Paper 2

Having looked at techniques for introductions for Commentaries and Written Assignments (Parts 1 and 2 of this series), it's time to look at what you can do to provide winning introductions to your Paper 2 essays. Here again, as with the Commentary, we're working with a timed exam.  That means you need to have some strategies in place so you don't have to agonize too much over the preliminaries to this portion of your essay and can instead spend the fast-disappearing  ...

Thinking about Metaphor for a Category 3 Extended Essay

It's a 'literary device,' right?  A comparison without using 'as' or 'like?'  That's what you've learned about metaphor as you have moved up from middle school reading and it's very likely you can spot them, count them and talk about them when the occasion (an essay? a commentary?) demands. But actually there are whole books written about metaphor as an important element of all human thought, used not just in literature but in many academic disciplines, in many facets of daily ...

Writing about humor and irony

For years scholars have puzzled over precise definitions and descriptions of humor and irony.  If you're planning to do a presentation on either of these, or write an essay about them in a literary work, you may find this power point helpful in sorting out your definitions--and we all know that without some clear definitions--or as clear as possible--what you say is not likely to be very successful. Very often students designate things as 'irony' or 'ironical' that are simply ...

Writing Successful Reflective Statements

Many students are passing up the chance for what is really an easy way to plug in 3 marks for your Written Assignment. If you do more than one for any given work (and the RS and WA must be on the same work, remember), choose the one that best shows the following: That you learned things that will help you read or re-read the literary work with a sense of who wrote it, when and where they wrote it. Ibsen did ...