GCSE pupils are often at a loss when faced with an exam question which asks for an apparently general response to a group of poems. For example: "How do the poets communicate ideas about death in the works you have studied?"
While the question is often followed by bullet points guiding their response, encourage your pupils to focus their answer and gain credit from the examiner by using the handy acronym LIST.
By writing about the L (language), I (ideas), S (structure) and T (tone) of a poem, pupils will consider aspects of the writers' poetic techniques as well as their ideas. They will also access the higher-grade criteria simply by remembering to write about all aspects of the poems that the word "how"
in the question may not prompt.
LIST is useful for revision or higher-level thinking activities, too. Ask pupils to create LIST diagrams for homework or differentiate lessons by getting the more able pupils to take responsibility for discussing structure (S), while the less able are asked to pass comment on ideas (I) Josephine Smith is head of English at Casterton Community College in Rutland