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‘Slices’ for GCSE English Literature

Emily Prentice | Saturday December 08, 2018

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What are Slices and how do you use them?

We asked Amy Forrester to share with you her 'slices' strategy.

Back in 2015, when the first exams of the new spec rolled around, I knew the importance of quotations - it was a closed book exam after all. However, over time, I began to realise that the key wasn’t just in the retention of quotations, but in the knowledge of what to say about them.

From there, I began to look for strategies that would enable students to both learn and apply this knowledge in an exam situation.

On twitter, I saw Diane Duncan had devised an acronym to use in a similar way - SLICE, which stood for

  • Structure
  • Language
  • Ideas
  • Context
  • Effects

Initially, I saw it being used for a scene in Macbeth, and I could see the potential benefit of using this approach for a range of quotations across a number of set texts.

I started with Macbeth, identifying around 25 quotations which were “must learns” and could be used in a range of potential exam questions.

I researched and read around them myself, which absolutely was the most fun part for me! I’ve heard some staff say they’d get students to read around them and research them, but I know from doing this process myself, just how much inaccurate information is circulating. We, as teachers, are the experts, and in doing it myself, it meant I was fully confident in the accuracy of the subject knowledge being applied.

  1. I began to introduce them in lessons. If I’m doing a certain scene in Macbeth, I would introduce the quote and directly teach students the wider high level subject knowledge that would accompany them.
  2. I would model how to use them to write in an analytical way about the quotation. I also set homework using them, where students have to learn the content alongside the quotation.

Another successful aspect to this has been the regularity at which we review and recap the information. Sometimes I use them as starters, and students have to recall the...


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