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Unseen Poetry Anthology with exemplar questions | Power and Conflict

Unseen Poetry Anthology with exemplar questions | Power and Conflict

AQA Unseen Poetry

Unseen poetry

  • Students will answer one question on one unseen poem and one question comparing this poem with a second unseen poem.
  • In preparing for the unseen poetry section of the examination, students should experience a wide range of poetry in order to develop their ability to closely analyse unseen poems.
  • Students should be able to analyse and compare key features such as their content, theme, structure and use of language.
  • Within this Anthology there is advice on how to prepare and teach the unseen poetry element and a range of poems across five themes which you can use with supporting information on meaning and some discussion points for the classroom.
  • Following on from this a range of assessment tasks with mark schemes are included.

Responding to unseen poetry in general

GCSE English Literature poetry assesses the extent to which candidates can develop an informed, personal, critical response to a poem, considering some of the ways in which the writer has presented their ideas. The response also assesses the ability to make comparisons and links across poems.

This is shown in the two assessment objectives for unseen poetry:

  • AO1 read, understand and respond to texts, maintaining a critical style and developing an informed personal response, using textual references including quotations to support and illustrate interpretations
  • AO2 analyse the language, form and structure used by a writer to create meanings and effects, using relevant subject terminology where appropriate

As a starting point you may wish to consider with their students:

  • What the poem is about and how it is organised
  • The ideas the poet may have wanted us to think about
  • The poet’s choice of words, phrases and images and the effects they create
  • How they respond to the poem
Unseen Poetry Anthology with exemplar questions | Power and Conflict

Identifying similarities and/or differences

The AQA specification for unseen poetry requires candidates to identify similarities/differences between two poems. The link(s) between the two poems should be clear and as students work through the two poems, they will be forming ideas which can be used in their response to this task based on comparison. There is a specific Edusites guide on comparison which gives more detail on this element.

Tips to Prepare Students for the unseen poetry element in GCSE English Literature

Building up student expertise in unseen poetry

Responding to unseen poetry requires students to make decisions independently. It is important to stress, though, that it is a skills-based exercise, building on key skills developed during a GCSE English Literature course and at KS3. The aim is to build student confidence in responding to unseen poetry, recognising that there are many ‘cross-over’ skills that can be developed steadily through their study of a wide range of poems of different forms and genres. In developing informed personal responses to unfamiliar poems, students can enjoy the creativity of bringing their own fresh, original ideas to the reading of these poems.

To prepare students successfully, responding to unseen poetry ideally needs to be embedded in English curriculum teaching and learning: it develops comprehension skills learnt at Key Stages 2 and 3.

The challenge is to encourage development of those initial, often content-based, encounters with poetry into the ability to write an extended response.

This can be developed through:

  • Comprehension questions of increasing demand
  • Growing emphasis on writers’ effects and reader response
  • Greater knowledge of genre and form
  • Bullet points and writing frames as initial scaffolding for the unseen poetry response
  • Ensuring that students’ responses attempt to become personal backed up with textual evidence

This is one of 48 unseen poems available on Edusites English. These anthologies have been produced by one of our many experts who contribute to Edusites English. Our resources are not available anywhere else and are written solely for our subscribers. All Anthologies for AQA English including Fiction, Non Fiction and Poetry are available along with the rest of our 1000s of pages of content when you subscribe to Edusites English. This set of anthologies have been created by Paul Dodd who advised on the new 9-1 GCSE and IGCSE qualifications.

This is shown in the two assessment objectives for unseen poetry:

  • AO1 read, understand and respond to texts, maintaining a critical style and developing an informed personal response, using textual references including quotations to support and illustrate interpretations
  • AO2 analyse the language, form and structure used by a writer to create meanings and effects, using relevant subject terminology where appropriate

As a starting point you may wish to consider with their students:

  • What the poem is about and how it is organised
  • The ideas the poet may have wanted us to think about
  • The poet’s choice of words, phrases and images and the effects they create
  • How they respond to the poem

Identifying similarities and/or differences

The AQA specification for unseen poetry requires candidates to identify similarities/differences between two poems. The link(s) between the two poems should be clear and as students work through the two poems, they will be forming ideas which can be used in their response to this task based on comparison. There is a specific Edusites guide on comparison which gives more detail on this element.

Tips to Prepare Students for the unseen poetry element in GCSE English Literature

Building up student expertise in unseen poetry

Responding to unseen poetry requires students to make decisions independently. It is important to stress, though, that it is a skills-based exercise, building on key skills developed during a GCSE English Literature course and at KS3. The aim is to build student confidence in responding to unseen poetry, recognising that there are many ‘cross-over’ skills that can be developed steadily through their study of a wide range of poems of different forms and genres. In developing informed personal responses to unfamiliar poems, students can enjoy the creativity of bringing their own fresh, original ideas to the reading of these poems.

To prepare students successfully, responding to unseen poetry ideally needs to be embedded in English curriculum teaching and learning: it develops comprehension skills learnt at Key Stages 2 and 3.

The challenge is to encourage development of those initial, often content-based, encounters with poetry into the ability to write an extended response.

This can be developed through:

  • Comprehension questions of increasing demand
  • Growing emphasis on writers’ effects and reader response
  • Greater knowledge of genre and form
  • Bullet points and writing frames as initial scaffolding for the unseen poetry response
  • Ensuring that students’ responses attempt to become personal backed up with textual evidence
Unseen Poetry Anthology with exemplar questions | Power and Conflict

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