In previous lessons, students explored the characters of Mr Birling and Sheila, considering the impact that their identities had on their choices and actions, and the role that power played in their interactions with others. This exploration built the foundation for students to examine the complex interplay between individuals, society and power – the ways in which who we are is both influenced by and influences our choices, whilst the impact that our choices have is linked to the amount of power we possess. Students also finished reading the first Act of the play, analysing the role Sheila and Mr Birling played in Eva Smith’s death, and began to develop the necessary analytical writing skills to craft clear, well-developed essays.
In this lesson, students will consider the lessons that we can learn from the first Act of the play, selecting evidence from the play to support their claims and discussing their ideas with their classmates. Such consideration will not only enable students to explore the play’s content in further depth and to examine the author’s craft, it will also encourage them to reflect on the play’s relevance to their own lives and to think about what lessons they can learn from the characters.
Students will then have the opportunity to adopt the perspectives of different characters in both drama tasks and written tasks. Such perspective-adopting exercises not only help students to familiarise themselves with the content of the play, but also help to boost student empathy as they put themselves in another’s shoes, as it were. This process can also assist students in making reflections on their own lives and their own behaviour, and in building links between the learning in the classroom and the world beyond school.
The activities in this lesson refer to pages 1–26 of the Heinemann edition of An Inspector Calls.
Alignment with the GCSE Specification
- Creative Writing (Lang-AO5, Lang-AO6)
- Critical Reading (Lit-AO1/AO3, Lang-AO1/AO4)
- Evidence-Based Reasoning (Lit-AO1–3/Lang-AO1–4)
- Knowledge of Content (Lit-AO1/AO3)
- Spoken Language Skills (Lang-AO8, Lang-AO9)
- Writing for Impact (form, audience, purpose) (Lang-AO5)
Students discuss the content of the first Act of the play, considering what lessons can be learnt and using evidence-based reasoning to justify their claims. This boosts their knowledge of the content of the play and their ability to interpret and evaluate the text critically. Students then develop their spoken language skills through the fishbowl and hot-seating activities. The hot-seating exercise, the rapid-fire writing task, and the creative writing task, require students to adopt the perspective of a character and then write for impact, selecting a form, audience and purpose. This helps students personally engage with the text and supports the development of their creative writing skills. Additionally, the use of discussion and writing throughout gives students the opportunity to verbalise their thoughts and practise turning them into coherent sentences, which will help them across their English GCSEs.
Learn more about this unit’s Alignment with GCSE Specification.