Literature in Lockdown: How De Aston’s English Department Have Adapted

When it was announced on Wednesday 5 January that schools would not be reopening their doors to the majority of pupils after the Christmas break, both pupils and teachers once again had to face the reality of remote learning for the foreseeable future.

Traditional classes have been replaced by virtual classrooms via Microsoft Teams, emails and phone calls have replaced student and teacher catch ups, and dining tables and sofas have replaced classroom desks.

Despite the numerous challenges faced by all involved, students and staff from the English Department at De Aston School have been making the best of this new way of teaching and learning. Sarah Peacock, Head of English at De Aston School, said:

“Getting to grips with Teams has been tough but, as always, we adapt and get there! I am enjoying the live lessons as I get to interact with the students more, but nothing replaces face-to-face teaching!

“I’ve had some wonderful interactions with students, both in terms of sending high quality work and also their involvement in competitions. I’ve had some great feedback from students about the live lessons too. I think the live lessons have really helped some students to engage with online learning more.”

The enthusiasm for the introduction of online live lessons is reflected in students too, with Year 10 student Beatrice saying:

“For me, the English online lessons have been a great adjustment. It is a lot more helpful; you get to hear other people’s opinions on the topic you are studying. It is also easier to understand certain tasks that you have been set to do.”

The nature of some English work has also leant itself kindly to remote learning, with text annotations proving particularly popular. Miss Peacock said:

“It’s tough teaching new content, particularly Literature, via online mediums, however, I have been really enjoying annotating Macbeth with Year 10 and reading their interpretations of the play!”

Year 10 student Kate agreed, saying:

“The most interesting pieces have been when annotating texts as it not only helps develop a greater understanding for the material but it helps when you have a piece of work in the future too.”

Fellow Year 10 pupil Evie meanwhile, has been enjoying expressing herself through essays:

“I’ve enjoyed the essay-based work the most because I can listen to music and write for a while which is very relaxing. I find it interesting because I can argue my point and attempt to convince people while looking at both sides.” 

One thing which was unanimously agreed by students and staff alike was a yearning to return to face-to-face teaching soon!

The English Department at De Aston School is committed to supporting every learner with the core principals of the subject: reading, writing and spoken English. Find out more about English at De Aston on our website.

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