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Poetry for GCSE. Approaches to: Anthology Study, Coursework and Unseen Poems. Learning Objectives. Further develop knowledge and understanding of Poetry Anthology teaching at KS4 Use a poetry anthology to identify key teaching points and appropriate methodology

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poetry for gcse

Poetry for GCSE

Approaches to: Anthology Study,

Coursework and Unseen Poems

learning objectives
Learning Objectives
  • Further develop knowledge and understanding of Poetry Anthology teaching at KS4
  • Use a poetry anthology to identify key teaching points and appropriate methodology
  • Develop an understanding of how to teach a range of pre 1914 poetry
  • Develop strategies for tackling “Unseen Poetry”
  • Develop strategies for teaching comparative poetry
wjec model
WJEC Model

Poetry constitutes two coursework assignments:

1. Post 1914 Different Cultures (comparative). This is

a crossover piece.

2. Pre 1914 Poetry (comparative). Literature only.

For terminal examination in Literature, WJEC offers an anthology or, if centres choose, an “Unseen Poetry” option. Most centres take the “Unseen” option.

the aqa anthology
The AQA Anthology

It is divided into two parts:

  • POEMS FROM DIFFERENT CULTURES. This section is used to assess Reading Skills for the English Paper.
  • POST AND PRE 1914 POETRY. This section is used to assess candidates for the Literature Exam.
poems from different cultures
Poems from Different Cultures
  • Cluster 1= 8 poems & Cluster 2= 8 poems.
  • Two questions in the exam: one naming a poem from cluster 1, the other naming a poem from cluster 2.
  • Candidates to answer on the named poem and one other poem from either cluster.
  • 45 minutes (15%)


  • What do they show about the cultures?
  • What do they show about the writers?
  • What do they show about language variety and verse forms?


the literature section
The Literature Section
  • Two pairs of modern writers are included, and pupils are intended to study them as a pair for comparative purposes. HEANEY AND CLARKE and DUFFY AND ARMITAGE are the current pairings.
  • Candidates will also be required to include reference to two poems from the PRE 1914 BANK OF POEMS.
  • For each pair, 3 alternative sets of questions will be offered.
issues for teachers literature
Issues for teachers (Literature)
  • Should the pupils read and closely study all the poems?
  • How to approach the comparative process?
  • Do answers have to comment in equal detail on each poem?
  • Are the named poets supposed to be studied discretely?
  • How do teachers plan to deliver the range of materials and skills required? How can time be effectively managed?
  • How can teachers help pupils to develop the generic skills required?
  • How do teachers ensure that the process is not tedious for the pupils?
  • How should pupil files and sample copies of the Anthology be organised?
  • What use can be made of the Question model?
wjec poetry without anthology
WJEC Poetry (without anthology)
  • For Coursework assignments ( pre 1914) pupils should read a range of poems (15 poems or about 1000 lines)
  • The teacher selects the poetry and creates the assignment title.
  • The actual assignment need only refer to 2 poems, as long as comparative criteria are met.

What potential issues or benefits are there for teachers who have selected this exam board?

more wjec
More WJEC . .
  • For the Literature terminal exam, candidates will have 30 minutes to respond to an “Unseen” post 1914 poem. It is worth 10 marks and the question is always the same:


You may wish to consider some or all of these points:

* the poem’s content

* the ideas the poet may have wanted us to think about

* the mood of the poem

* how it is written – words or phrases you find interesting, the

way the poem is structured, and so on

* your response to the poem

Again: any issues or benefits?

a single example
A Single Example
  • Examine Duffy’s poem “Stealing” in your pack and consider the ideas on the next few pages, beginning “Exploring the Poem”.
  • In groups try to come up with another inaginative way a teacher might help pupils to access and evaluate the poem.