Get Prepared to Teach this Scheme of Work in Your Classroom

From the Unit:

Understanding Our Approach

At Facing History and Ourselves, we give students the tools to become active, thoughtful, and responsible citizens, who engage critically with the world around them. We do so by providing students with opportunities to engage with the complexities of identity, to explore how difference can influence our treatment of others, and to reflect on the impact and consequences of our choices and actions, alongside core curriculum content. This learning, which encourages students to understand their interconnectedness with others and their individual agency, is supported through a range of activities and teaching strategies that develop students’ critical reading and thinking, negotiation, collaboration, and active listening skills. These strategies work to promote democracy in the classroom, creating a safe space where difficult conversations can be had and where students can learn to disagree constructively. Students are thus provided with the tools to participate in their communities, so that they can bring about the changes they would like to see and help create a kind and compassionate society.

Fostering a Reflective Classroom Community

We believe that a classroom in which a Facing History and Ourselves unit is taught ought to be a microcosm of democracy – a place where explicit rules and implicit norms protect everyone’s right to speak; where different perspectives can be heard and valued; where members take responsibility for themselves, each other, and the group as a whole; and where each member has a stake and a voice in collective decisions. We recommend that teachers create a strong foundation for a reflective classroom through the use of the following strategies:

  1. Contracting
  2. Student Journals

Even if you have already established rules and guidelines with your students to help bring about these characteristics in your classroom, we recommend taking a moment to read the teaching strategies and consider how you might frame your classroom contracts and student journals within the context of this scheme of work, weaving them into your daily practice so they become part of the culture of the classroom. The first lesson in this unit is focused on Building a Classroom Community through the creation of a classroom contract. 

Teaching This Scheme of Work

We understand that teachers may use these lessons in a variety of classroom settings and ways. If circumstances allow, we recommend that you teach these lessons in the order we are presenting them, adapting them as necessary to fit the needs of your schools and communities. Also, while the scheme of work is divided into 50-minute lessons, some teachers may omit certain activities because of available time, or elect to include extension activities (located at the end of most lessons) to explore topics in greater depth. Whenever lessons are modified, it is important that students still have time and space to process the material, both individually and with their peers, especially at the end of the lesson so they can reflect on what they have read, seen, heard, and discussed in a safe and nurturing space.

Unit Essential Question

The following essential question provides a framework for exploring this unit’s main ideas and themes: What can J. B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls teach us about the impact of our individual and collective decisions and actions on others?

This essential question challenges students to make important connections between the themes in the play and the power of the choices and decisions they make today. We do not expect students to determine a single, ‘correct’ answer. Essential questions are rich and open-ended; they are designed to be revisited over time, and as students explore the content in greater depth, they may find themselves emerging with new ideas, understanding, and questions.

Guiding Questions

Each lesson includes one or more guiding questions. Unlike the unit’s essential question, which is broad and open-ended, guiding questions help to direct student enquiry at the lesson level and are aligned with its specific measurable learning objectives. Unlike essential questions, guiding questions might have a clear answer, which students should be able to support with specific evidence from the lesson to demonstrate their understanding of the content.

Corresponding PowerPoints

There is a corresponding PowerPoint for each lesson that includes student-facing slides and activity instructions in the notes section for the teacher. The PowerPoints are intended to be used alongside, and not instead of, the lesson plans because the latter include important rationales, context, and detailed activity instructions that teachers should familiarise themselves with before teaching the lesson. The PowerPoints include basic content and student-facing prompts from the lesson plans but are minimally designed because we expect teachers to adapt them to fit the needs of their students and class.

Homework Suggestions

In addition to the activities, many lesson plans in this unit also contain suggestions for homework assignments that are designed to build on classroom learning. These are not compulsory. Rather, they are ideas that teachers can use if they fit with the homework approach of your school. They could also be modified as additional in-class activities.

Marking Criteria Codes

To succeed in both school and the world beyond, it is vital that students are not only able to produce clear and coherent text that responds to the criteria set, but that they are able to write in Standard English, using accurate punctuation, spelling and grammar. Throughout the scheme of work, we, therefore, recommend that teachers use Marking Criteria Codes when reviewing students’ written work to help them develop the structure and content of their writing, and their written English. These marking codes enable teachers to nurture their students as effective writers by giving them in-depth feedback, which requires proactive student engagement.

The GCSE Supplements

There are five optional GCSE supplements in this scheme of work: three of them are focused on developing students’ persuasive writing skills and the other two are focused on developing students’ essay writing skills. These supplements are not lessons and do not need to be taught as such; rather, they are structured in such a way as to ensure that the various steps necessary for writing a persuasive piece, an analytical paragraph or an essay are outlined in an appropriate order. Depending on how many class periods you can devote to writing instruction, you may decide that your class does not need to follow all of the steps or that you want your class to do some of the steps in class and others at home. Engage with the GCSE supplements in this scheme of work in the way that works for your class context, adapting them to your students’ needs as you see fit.

Developing Student Vocabulary

The readings and videos in this unit introduce some vocabulary and concepts that may pose a challenge for your students, especially for struggling readers, so you may want to consider using the Word Wall strategy to keep a running list of critical vocabulary posted in your classroom that you and your students can refer to over the course of the unit. Students might have a corresponding list in a section of their exercise books, and you could also challenge them to incorporate Word Wall terms into their writing and discussions to help them internalise and understand these challenging terms and concepts. Some lessons contain ideas for the Word Wall in the teacher notes. You might also encourage students to add their own vocabulary and concept terms as they encounter them.


Democracy & Civic Engagement

Get Prepared to Teach this Scheme of Work in Your Classroom

Prepare yourself to teach this unit by reading about our pedagogy, teaching strategies, and the unit's content.

Lesson 1 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Building a Classroom Community

Students work together to create a contract with the aim of developing a reflective classroom community, which is conducive to learning and sharing.

Lesson 2 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Exploring Where I'm From

Students prepare for reading the play by considering the relationship between the individual and society, and by reflecting on identity. After discussing a poem about identity, they write their own.

Lesson 3 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Exploring Social Inequality

Students explore social inequality in the UK, discussing how an individual’s background can impact their opportunities before examining graphs that display social inequality and employment trends.

Lesson 4 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Priestley's World and the World of the Play

Students learn about important events that occurred during Priestley’s lifetime, completing a human timeline to understand their chronology, and are introduced to the concepts of socialism and capitalism.

Lesson 5 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

The Treatment of Edwardian Women

Students examine various resources, including excerpts from Emmeline Pankhurt’s ‘Freedom or Death’ speech, to gain an understanding of how women were treated and expected to behave in Edwardian society.

Lesson 6 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Entering the World of the Play

Students begin reading the play, having applied what they have learnt about Priestley and the relevant sociohistorical context to make predictions about its content.

Lesson 7 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Understanding Class

Students explore class, status, etiquette and hierarchy to deepen their knowledge of the social expectations and values which guide the world in which the characters live.

Lesson 8 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Developing Character Inferences

Students are introduced to the concept of inferencing; they draw inferences from the opening scene of the play, and consider what messages Priestley sends through the language, character and setting.

Lesson 9 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Understanding Mr Birling

Students study the character of Mr Birling, critically assessing Priestley’s presentation of him, before using the character to reflect on how identity can influence people's views and behaviour.

Lesson 10 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

The Cost of Labour

Students explore the moral codes of the world of the play, before being introduced to the concept of a universe of obligation and participating in a debate on workers’ rights.

GCSE Supplement
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Persuasive Writing: A Letter to Parliament

Students write a persuasive letter to Parliament concerning the gig economy, having reviewed persuasive devices, generated claims and content, and read a model letter.

Lesson 11 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Understanding Sheila

Students use the character of Sheila to further understand the interplay between identity and choices, before going on to analyse Priestley’s presentation of Sheila in Act One.

Lesson 12 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Act One Review

Students consider the lessons we can learn from Act One of the play, before adopting the perspectives of characters in both drama tasks and written tasks.

Lesson 13 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Differing Perspectives and Conflict

Students begin Act Two of the play, reflecting on the differences in perception emerging between the characters and considering how conflict can arise from such differences.

Lesson 14 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Analysing Gerald’s Character

Students develop their understanding of the character Gerald, exploring the differences between his treatment of Eva/Daisy and Sheila, whilst reflecting on Edwardian gender expectations.

Lesson 15 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Understanding Mrs Birling

Students consider what factors impacted Mrs Birling’s treatment of Eva Smith, and create a universe of obligation graphic representation for her character.

GCSE Supplement
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Analytical Writing: A Character Paragraph

Students write an analytical paragraph on character having generated claims, selected evidence and read a model paragraph.

Lesson 16 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Eric's Decisions and Consent

Students consider the role power plays in the interactions between characters, focusing on the relationship between Eric and Eva, before discussing consent.

GCSE Supplement
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Persuasive Writing: A Speech about Consent

Students write a persuasive speech for sixth-form students on the importance of consent, having reviewed persuasive devices, generated claims and content, and read a model paragraph.

Lesson 17 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Inspecting Inspector Goole

Students create an identity chart for Inspector Goole, analyse his parting words, and look for clues to uncover who or what Inspector Goole is.

Lesson 18 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Social Systems and Individual Agency

Students identify the parts, people, and interactions of various social systems, thinking about what bearing they have on character choices and behaviour, before considering responses to injustice.

Lesson 19 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Putting the Characters on Trial

Students finish reading the play and participate in a court trial to decide which character is the most responsible for the death of Eva Smith.

Lesson 20 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Bearing Witness to Eva Smith

Students reflect on Priestley’s portrayal of Eva Smith and consider the symbolism of having a character who only appears in the narrative second-hand.

GCSE Supplement
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Analytical Writing: The GCSE Character Essay

Students write an essay on character having generated claims, selected and annotated evidence, and read a model essay.

Lesson 21 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

What Lessons Can We Learn?

Students address the essential question of the unit in a people's assembly, reflecting on the lessons that we can learn from An Inspector Calls.

GCSE Supplement
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Persuasive Writing: A Letter to a Newspaper for a Caring Community

Students write a persuasive letter to a local newspaper, which outlines the importance of considering the needs of others and suggests ways to create a more caring community.

Lesson 22 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Recurring Themes in the Play

Students prepare to write an essay on theme by identifying and analysing the themes explored in the play.

Lesson 23 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Theatre as a Call to Action

Students consider theatre as a call to action, discussing its power and limitations to spark real social change, before plotting their own play inspired by An Inspector Calls.

Democracy & Civic Engagement

Alignment with Ofsted Requirements

Read about how this unit assists teachers and schools in fulfilling a range of statutory and non-statutory requirements as outlined in the 2019 Ofsted inspection handbook.

Democracy & Civic Engagement

Alignment with the GCSE Specification

Read about how this unit is aligned with Ofqual’s subject aims and learning outcomes for both the English Literature and English Language GCSEs.

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