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IGCSE English Literature 0486 Teacher’s Guide to Poems of Thomas Hardy

Paul Merrell | Thursday July 24, 2014

Categories: KS4, Cambridge iGCSE, Cambridge iGCSE English Literature, English Literature 0486, OCR GCSE, Hot Entries, Poetry, Hardy, Selection, Writing, Comparative Analysis, Comparing & Contrasting, Poetry Analysis

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When you begin teaching the Cambridge IGCSE English Literature, you have a choice as to which texts your students will study in order to complete the poetry part of the examination. You can choose to teach a selection of poems by Thomas Hardy:

  • Neutral Tones
  • ‘I Look into My Glass’
  • Drummer Hodge
  • The Darkling Thrush
  • On the Departure Platform
  • The Pine Planters
  • The Convergence of the Twain
  • The Going
  • The Voice
  • At the Word ‘Farewell’
  • During Wind and Rain
  • In Time of ‘The Breaking of Nations’
  • No Buyers: A Street Scene
  • Nobody Comes

On the other hand, you can make use of the Songs of Ourselves anthology:

  • Sujata Bhatt, ‘A Different History’
  • Gerard Manley Hopkins, ‘Pied Beauty’
  • Allen Curnow, ‘Continuum’
  • Edwin Muir, ‘Horses’
  • Judith Wright, ‘Hunting Snake’
  • Ted Hughes, ‘Pike’
  • Christina Rossetti, ‘A Birthday’
  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti, ‘The Woodspurge’
  • Kevin Halligan, ‘The Cockroach’
  • Margaret Atwood, ‘The City Planners’
  • Boey Kim Cheng, ‘The Planners’
  • Norman MacCaig, ‘Summer Farm’
  • Elizabeth Brewster, ‘Where I Come From’
  • William Wordsworth, ‘Sonnet Composed Upon Westminster Bridge’

Having taught this course for several years, in a couple of different schools, I’ve followed both options and my honest advice would be that there’s a little more coherence in teaching 14 poems by one writer, rather than 14 by different poets.  However, I think that very much comes down to your view of Thomas Hardy . . . When the poet choice was Tennyson, I was quite happy to use Songs of Ourselves, however, I’ve always had a soft spot for Hardy. I was taught him myself when I took A Level – it’s funny how the authors come and go from fashion!

What I am going to try to do in this guide is offer you some initial ideas as to how to approach these poems – with some revision videos and some exemplar student responses included – to show you that actually there’s...

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