Each year I debate with A-level classes how I'm going to broach the notion of critical theory. I've tried it through a variation on role-play and the result has been fun.
The title for the lesson is an MTV-style Critical Death Match and the concept is a "fight" between different critical theorists, played by pupils. Each is given a role-play card that explains their theoretical response to a text (for example, "I am a cultural materialist and I believe..."). They are given time to prepare a short interpretation.
The competitors "battle it out in the ring", delivering their interpretations. The class makes appropriate sound effects when convincing points are made or knock-out blows are landed.
The class votes on the most convincing interpretation
Chris Bond teaches English at Warwick School in Warwickshire.