This engaging and informative lesson students to make sustained and developed links between Dickens’ Great Expectations and its social and historical context. In particular, students learn about the contrasts between the lives of the rich and poor in Victorian society, crime and the justice system, and the implications of an underdeveloped healthcare system. They then link this understanding to what they read in the opening of the novel.
The lesson follows a step-by-step learning journey, in which children learn through:
- Understanding key information about Charles Dickens, his life, and influences;
- Researching and sharing key contextual understanding about the rich, poor, healthcare, crime and the justice system in the 19th Century;
- Reading extracts from the opening of 'Great Expectations' and identifying evidence of contextual influences;
- Analysing how Dickens presents his views about the cruelty of 19th Century life through the opening of the text;
- Peer assessing each other's learning attempts.
- Whole lesson PowerPoint - colourful and comprehensive;
- Extract - Opening of Great Expectations;
- Template for researching 19th Century life (and completed answer sheet for teachers);
- Analysis template with success criteria for creating well-structured responses;
- Comprehensive lesson plan.
All documents are attached as Word and PDF in case formatting differs on your computer.
There are also opportunities for group learning, peer assessment, and whole class discussion. This was originally taught to mixed ability year 10 groups, but can easily be differentiated for groups of different ages and abilities.
All images are licensed for commercial use, and image rights are listed on the last page of the presentation.