‘Of Mice and Men’ Revision: Speed Dating

chickenspeed

A lot of students waste a fair amount of time in the exam hunting for quotations to use. There’s a common misconception that you either don’t need to revise (because you’ve got the book in the exam room with you) or that you can’t revise for English. Both of these, of course, are rubbish.

Get your students to work together to come up with a list of key quotations for the novel – relating to key themes, characters etc. (they can do this in groups). Give each student one of these quotations. Individually they need to analyse their quotation for the language Steinbeck has used/effect and comment on how this quotation is important.

Now the logistics…students need to be in pairs facing each other. You need to arrange the room so that every student will meet every other student – so perhaps an outside circle moving one way and an inside circle moving the other. I would suggest that you give about 5 minutes per date and, if you can, have some kind of bell to signal the time to move on.

At each ‘date’ both students will share their key quotation, their analysis and why they think it is important. They can add to eachother’s notes and I would encourage higher ability students to discuss alternative interpretations.

By the end of the dating, students will have a list of key quotations with linguistic analysis and comments on their importance. They can use this to learn key quotations for the exam and be in a strong position to already meet the objectives of analysing the language. It will also save them time searching for quotations to use in the exam. In later stages of revision you could always give students past questions and see which of the key quotations they would use – we don’t want them shoe-horning quotations in just because they’ve learnt them.

Of course, just the process of discussing quotations, the lanage used and it’s significance is worthwhile without students learning the quotations.

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