In the previous lesson, students explored class and social hierarchy in Edwardian England by reading and discussing etiquette manuals and, in An Inspector Calls, by ordering the characters according to their social rank in the Victorian and Edwardian class system. This enquiry not only gave students the opportunity to engage with challenging non-fiction texts and apply contextual information to the content of the play, it also paved the way for reflection about modern social norms and their impact on opportunities, choices, and values. Whilst the value placed on class has diminished somewhat, it still exists. Acknowledging this sometimes invisible societal structure is important as it adds complexity to students’ examination of the relationship between the individual and society.
In this lesson, students will turn their focus back to the content of the play and to developing effective analytical skills. They will be introduced to the concept of inferencing and will begin making inferences about the characters and setting in the opening scene of the play, considering what messages Priestley sends to the audience through his use of language, characterisation and development of setting. This will not only prepare students to analyse the play, it will also enable them to think about how they make connections between what they read and hear and the world around them. Explicitly explaining the process of inferencing can be a very empowering process as it helps students reflect on how their minds work when they are reading a text or encountering new information.
The activities in this lesson refer to pages 1–5 of the Heinemann edition of An Inspector Calls.
Alignment with the GCSE Specification
- Application of Contextual Information (Lit-AO3)
- Evidence-Based Reasoning (Lit-AO1–3/Lang-AO1–4)
- Knowledge of Subject Terminology (Lit-AO2, Lang-AO2)
- Reading Comprehension (Lit-AO1, Lang-AO1)
- Summarising and Synthesising Skills (Lang-AO1)
Students are introduced to and practise inferencing, which is a necessary foundation for analytical writing. Inferencing relies on prior knowledge, whilst developing student skills in reading comprehension, the application of contextual information, and evidence-based reasoning. It also encourages students to look beyond the explicit and access the implicit information and ideas contained within the text. In the creation of a found poem, students summarise and synthesise their learning by picking out key quotations relevant to the theme they are exploring. The use of discussion and writing throughout gives students the opportunity to develop and verbalise their thoughts and practise turning them into coherent sentences, which will help them across their English GCSEs.
Learn more about this unit’s Alignment with GCSE Specification.