To help students understand the subtle differences between a group of connected words – verbs in this case – it’s important that they’re seen within context and that their definitions are discussed. No surprises there. To help assist with this, towards the end of the summer term, I started using simple sentence templates like the ones below as quick ‘engage’ or ‘review’ tasks – just as a basic mechanism to get students thinking and discussing.
The idea is for students to fill-in the gaps, which are marked on the slides by [ ? ] signs. For example, a typical answer to the first statement might include a reference to an emphasis of the Witches’ strange, otherworldly appearances and a bit of analysis on the reinforcement of contemporary suspicions about witches and witchcraft in the early seventeenth century – all of which should then lead onto a decent bit of feedback.
The templates are also useful in helping to identify misconceptions. So, when Banquo notices that Macbeth is ‘rapt withal’, it does show that his brother-in-arms is amazed at what he’s heard, but it doesn’t suggest that he’s jealous or resentful of him – as some students I’ve taught before have initially believed.
Students can also be encouraged to think about adjectives. The same sort of process applies: consider the meaning of the words in red and retrieve relevant quotations. For example, in the case of the second statement, Banquo’s scepticism (as opposed to, say, disappointment or indifference) is shown by, amongst other things, his questioning of whether or not he has eaten ‘on the insane root’.
Anyway, simple stuff that doesn’t require much planning. The two slides can be accessed by clicking here.
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