English - Drama in the Big Apple

13th January 2012 at 00:00

What the lesson is about

I recently led an A-level English visit to New York - it was a fantastic trip, writes Adam Webster. The main aim was to embed our students in the culture of the city, while exposing them to some new material within the world in which it was written. To that end, they all read Arthur Miller's A View from the Bridge on the flight.

Taking it further

A few days later we traversed Brooklyn Bridge and suddenly Eddie's dreams for his niece Catherine became so obvious. The sun was setting behind the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline glowed with a fiery halo, and it was almost impossible not to want to be there; to believe that something magical would happen as you stepped off that bridge and into the city.

Having read The New Colossus while staring up at the Statue of Liberty and the blatant propaganda that met immigrants at Ellis Island, we decided to discuss "The American Dream" sitting on a set of steps that led to nowhere in the middle of Times Square.

St Paul's Chapel, opposite Ground Zero, offered the most humbling experience. A refuge for rescue workers in the days after the attacks, it is now a living museum, filled with letters and photos. This was an important experience for my students who are about to write about two cynical 911 texts. These excursions are the stuff of dreams for a lot of our students - educational, exciting and inspiring.

What else?

Try the TES English study pack on A View from the Bridge. For NYC literature, mediadave has developed resources for the Beat Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti's poem Two Scavengers In a Truck, Two Beautiful People In A Mercedes.

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