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A Teaching Guide to Pre-1914, Duffy and Armitage Poems ‘Hitcher’ and ‘On My First Sonne’

Steph Atkinson | Friday November 06, 2009

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The presentation of death in ‘Hitcher’ and ‘On My First Sonne’

This teaching guide is one of 4 guides which cover between them the 12 Key Poems for AQA A GCSE English Literature for Carol Ann Duffy, Simon Armitage and the relevant Pre-1914 poems (Higher Tier).

As pupils must compare a particular theme, idea or approach in the poems in the examination, these guides are centred on a particular theme which is relevant to the Key Poems each guide covers. In this way it is hoped that the comparative approach to these poems will be inherent from the beginning.

Therefore, this teaching guide is designed as a way into the comparative and analytical approach required by the AQA A GCSE English Literature examination paper. Rather than giving a poem-by-poem teaching guide – many of which are readily available – this guide considers the 12 key poems for Higher Tier in groups of 2. Each pair is linked by a key theme from a past paper, just as each pair or group of 4 poems is linked by a specified key theme in the examination question (although, of course, many other links are possible between these poems).

The guide suggests ways in which you can teach your pupils ways of comparing, closely analysing and evaluating the poems effectively in order that they achieve the highest bands in the mark scheme. The intention is to allow your pupils to detect links between the poems as early as possible in your scheme of work, in order to encourage the comparative approach required by the mark scheme. In particular, this approach may be useful for the examination questions which ask pupils to compare two poems twice, rather than four poems once.

The key link for ‘Hitcher’ and ‘On My First Sonne’ is The Presentation Of Death.

Let us remind ourselves of the assessment objectives for the poetry section of the English Literature examination:

English Literature

Candidates are required to demonstrate their ability to:

AO1: respond to texts...


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