English Department report 13-17 September 2021

English Department report 13-17 September 2021

English Department report 13-17 September 2021

PUBLISHED 23 September 2021

This week seemed to go by very quickly. It was good to see that after a soggy Monday morning, the Year 9 residential would enjoy some beautiful weather up in the Lake District. 

The Midnight Fox by Betsy Byars | Goodreads

Year 7 were doing potted autobiographies in which they discussed their favourite holidays, food and TV programmes. Spaghetti bolognaise is a popular dish amongst eleven-year-olds. Congratulations to those who also spelt it correctly – you both did well. We discussed American words in ‘The Midnight Fox’, our class reader, and decided that the word ‘sitter’ was a much better term than the English ‘babysitter’, which is hardly appropriate when you have reached the grand old age of eleven. Food names are very different – fries are chips, and chips are crisps, and biscuits are scones, and cookies are biscuits. George Bernard Shaw is credited with saying that we were ‘two countries separated by a common language’. 


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I have never ripped pages out of a textbook, like Mr Keating instructs his class to do in ‘Dead Poets’ Society’. However, I did ask Year 11 to strike an error from the record in the photocopy from a textbook - as we see here in Lucy’s handout. Now, at this point, I know what you’re all thinking: surely that’s a Spenserian, not a Shakespearian sonnet (as the textbook erroneously asserts) as evinced by the doubled deployment of a quadruple rhyme. You’re right – you’d think that they would have spotted that since Spenser himself wrote the poem. They even got the rhyme scheme wrong. Oh well. 

A lovely analysis of the poem’s ideas from Ayushi is shown here. I wish I could have written with such precision at that age, or, indeed, so neatly. 

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In Speakers’ Club our Year 12 debaters will discuss next week the merits of routinely arming the British Police (already the case in Northern Ireland) - always a thorny issue. Interestingly, in a poll taken in 2012, 82% of police officers were in favour of remaining unarmed. 

The Quiz teams were easier to score this week, as we opted for two large teams, which was just as well as I was scoring. After a slow start, Team B overtook Team A and eventually won by over 150 points. This sounds impressive – and it is – but you do get ten points for each correct answer.  

Our Stars of the Week have worked hard to deserve our plaudits. Well done to Maanav, Thomas and Jack in Year 7 and equal ‘props’ to Ella and Hiruni in Year 8. 

Our Word of the Week is ‘obsolete’, although paradoxically, it, as a word, is still very much in use: LOL (maybe that initialism is obsolete, in these days of emojis!). 

Mr Smyth 

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