Lesson 13 of 23
Duration:
One 50-minute class period

Differing Perspectives and Conflict

From the Unit:

Essential Questions

What can J. B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls teach us about the impact of our individual and collective decisions and actions on others?

Guiding Questions

  • What differences in perspective amongst the characters are starting to appear? 
  • How can different perspectives become a source of conflict?

Learning Objectives

  • Students will identify the conflicting perspectives that are starting to emerge in the play, thinking about their origins and causes.
  • Students will work in groups to act out a scene from the play.

Overview

In the previous lesson, students discussed what lessons can be learnt from the first Act of An Inspector Calls, selecting evidence from the text to justify their claims. This activity not only boosted their knowledge of the opening Act, it also began the process of addressing the essential question of the unit: What can J. B. Priestley’s An Inspector Calls teach us about the impact of our individual and collective decisions and actions on others? Students then engaged in empathy-building exercises in which they adopted a character’s perspective in order to better understand their motivations and points of view. Both activities gave students the opportunity to engage with the content on a personal level, and build links between the play and their own identities and experiences.

In this lesson, students will begin reading the second Act of the play and will be encouraged to consider how conflict can emerge from differing perspectives. In the second Act, there is a clear difference between how the characters relate to each other when compared with the start of the play. These differences manifest themselves as conflict: the characters are increasingly revealed to have differing views of the world and a different understanding of one’s personal responsibility to others, be they family members, employees, or strangers. Students will reflect on these differences in perception, and will have the opportunity to make links with the world beyond school, thinking about how such differences can have both negative and positive consequences. They will also consider how we can overcome conflict born of such differences.

The activities in this lesson refer to pages 27–33 of the Heinemann edition of An Inspector Calls.

Alignment with the GCSE Specification

  • Critical Reading (Lit-AO1/AO3, Lang-AO1/AO4)
  • Critical Thinking (Lit-AO1–3/Lang-AO1–4)
  • Evidence-Based Reasoning (Lit-AO1–3/Lang-AO1–4)
  • Reading Comprehension (Lit-AO1, Lang-AO1)

Spoken Language Skills (Lang-AO8, Lang-AO9)Students are given a range of quotations from throughout Act Two and must use these to predict what will occur, thus deploying critical thinking and evidence-based reasoning. Students then perform the first scene of the second Act, focusing on how conflict is appearing between the characters and how this conflict is linked to their perspectives. The use of drama boosts their spoken language skills, whilst the reading focus boosts their comprehension and critical reading 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

Notes to Teacher

  1. Tea Party

    A Tea Party is an activity that introduces students to key plot points and themes that they are going to encounter as a means of building schema and encouraging them to engage with the text in an interactive manner. This lesson’s Tea Party involves students circulating around the room and sharing quotations from Act Two with the other students they encounter. Students then discuss the quotations, thinking about how they might connect to each other and to what they have read thus far. Students can also try and predict what they think will happen in the second Act of the play. You will need to prepare in advance for this activity by cutting up the phrases on the Act Two Tea Party Quotations handout or selecting your own phrases to give to students for this activity. There are fifteen phrases on the handout, so depending on your class size, some students may have the same one.

  2. Classroom-ready PowerPoint Slides

    Each lesson in this unit includes a PowerPoint of student-facing slides. The PowerPoints are intended to be used alongside, and not instead of, the lesson plans because the latter include important rationales and context that teachers should familiarise themselves with before teaching the lesson. The PowerPoints include basic content and student-facing prompts from the lesson plans but are minimally designed because we expect teachers to adapt them to fit the needs of their students and class.

Differing Perspectives and Conflict

PowerPoint
Differing Perspectives and Conflict

This PowerPoint for Lesson 13 of the Teaching Inspector Calls unit comes complete with student-facing slides and teaching notes, and is ready to use in the classroom.

Materials

Activities

  1. Reflect on Perception
    • Explain to students that before they make predictions and start reading Act Two, they will reflect on the idea of perception. Have a few volunteers define perception (without using the word ‘perceive’). 
    • Then ask them to respond to the following questions in their journal:
      • Have you ever noticed a difference between how you view something and how someone else does? What was it? What do you think prompted these differences? 
      • Why do you think people view the world in different ways?
      • What can be the positive and negative consequences of these different perceptions? 
    • Facilitate a short class discussion based on the journal questions.
  2. Have a Tea Party
    • Explain to the students that they will be participating in an activity called a Tea Party. They will each be given a quotation from the play and will circulate around the room, having discussions with students they encounter about their quotations. You might play music from the early 1900s while students are circulating and pause the music to indicate that students need to pair up. 
    • Give each student one quotation from the Act Two Tea Party Quotations handout.
    • Ask students to read the quotation on their strip of paper and imagine what the phrase might refer to and what it might suggest about what happens in the second Act of the play.
    • Ask students to circulate and share what is on their strip of paper with another student. Give students one minute on a timer to have a short discussion about what is on their card, who may have said it, how it might connect to Act Two of the play, and what their predictions are for the second Act.
    • Next, ask students to swap strips with their partner and to move on and have another one-minute chat with another student about their new quotations.
    • Repeat this process two or three times, having students swap strips with their partner at the end of each round so they are not talking about the same quotation every round, and to encourage active listening when they are learning about their partner’s quotations.
    • When students return to their seats, ask them to write three predictions about what will happen in Act Two. 
    • If there is time, give some students the opportunity to share their ideas with the rest of the class, perhaps using a strategy like wraparound.
  3. Act Out the Play in Small Groups
    • Before reading the next section of the play, consider starting with a range of warm-up drama activities. 
    • Explain to students that they will be acting out a section of the play in groups. If possible, it is worth moving the tables out of the way so students have space to act out the scene.
    • Divide students into groups of five and ask them to read the section from the start of Act Two (p. 27) to Mrs Birling: ‘Over-excited. And she refuses to go’ (mid p. 33). They will read the roles of Inspector, Sheila, Gerald, Mrs Birling, and Mr Birling. Encourage students not to skip over the stage directions and to incorporate Priestley’s instructions for how characters deliver their lines into their readings. You could also have a student read aloud the stage directions.
    • After the groups have read, ask them to review pages 27–33 and to annotate or mark using sticky notes places in the play where the characters view the world in different ways. 
    • Then, ask the groups to discuss the following questions: 
      • What differences in perspective are starting to appear between the characters? 
      • How are these differences in perspective a source of conflict?
  4. Discuss the Relationship between Perception and Conflict
    • Come back together as a class, and ask some of the groups to share their annotations and key ideas from their discussions about the differences in perspective that they noticed. 
    • Facilitate a class discussion on the following questions: 
      • What differences in perspective are starting to appear between the characters? How are they a source of conflict? 
      • What factors may be prompting these differences in perspectives? (if students need assistance here, encourage them to consider identity and power) 
    • What are the negative and the positive consequences of these differences in perspective?
  5. Re-reflect on Perception
    • Ask students to discuss the following questions in pairs using the Think, Pair, Share strategy:
      • How do you feel when you encounter someone who views the world in a different way to you? Why? 
      • What can happen if we only mix with people who view the world in the same way we do? 
      • How can we overcome the conflict that can occur because of differences in perspective?

Extensions

Analyse a Poem for a Deeper Exploration of Perception

Have students reflect further on differences in perspective and the ways in which these differences can create conflict and impact how we treat others. Start by showing students the video of Jonathan Lykes performing his poem ‘Perception’. Then ask students to complete the handout Connect, Extend, Challenge Chart and guide them through the Connect, Extend, Challenge task, comparing perspectives in An Inspector Calls and the poem.

Unit

Introduction
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Get Prepared to Teach this Scheme of Work in Your Classroom

Prepare yourself to teach this unit by reading about our pedagogy, teaching strategies, and the unit's content.

Lesson 1 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Building a Classroom Community

Students work together to create a contract with the aim of developing a reflective classroom community, which is conducive to learning and sharing.

Lesson 2 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Exploring Where I'm From

Students prepare for reading the play by considering the relationship between the individual and society, and by reflecting on identity. After discussing a poem about identity, they write their own.

Lesson 3 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Exploring Social Inequality

Students explore social inequality in the UK, discussing how an individual’s background can impact their opportunities before examining graphs that display social inequality and employment trends.

Lesson 4 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Priestley's World and the World of the Play

Students learn about important events that occurred during Priestley’s lifetime, completing a human timeline to understand their chronology, and are introduced to the concepts of socialism and capitalism.

Lesson 5 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

The Treatment of Edwardian Women

Students examine various resources, including excerpts from Emmeline Pankhurt’s ‘Freedom or Death’ speech, to gain an understanding of how women were treated and expected to behave in Edwardian society.

Lesson 6 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Entering the World of the Play

Students begin reading the play, having applied what they have learnt about Priestley and the relevant sociohistorical context to make predictions about its content.

Lesson 7 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Understanding Class

Students explore class, status, etiquette and hierarchy to deepen their knowledge of the social expectations and values which guide the world in which the characters live.

Lesson 8 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Developing Character Inferences

Students are introduced to the concept of inferencing; they draw inferences from the opening scene of the play, and consider what messages Priestley sends through the language, character and setting.

Lesson 9 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Understanding Mr Birling

Students study the character of Mr Birling, critically assessing Priestley’s presentation of him, before using the character to reflect on how identity can influence people's views and behaviour.

Lesson 10 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

The Cost of Labour

Students explore the moral codes of the world of the play, before being introduced to the concept of a universe of obligation and participating in a debate on workers’ rights.

GCSE Supplement
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Persuasive Writing: A Letter to Parliament

Students write a persuasive letter to Parliament concerning the gig economy, having reviewed persuasive devices, generated claims and content, and read a model letter.

Lesson 11 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Understanding Sheila

Students use the character of Sheila to further understand the interplay between identity and choices, before going on to analyse Priestley’s presentation of Sheila in Act One.

Lesson 12 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Act One Review

Students consider the lessons we can learn from Act One of the play, before adopting the perspectives of characters in both drama tasks and written tasks.

Lesson 13 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Differing Perspectives and Conflict

Students begin Act Two of the play, reflecting on the differences in perception emerging between the characters and considering how conflict can arise from such differences.

Lesson 14 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Analysing Gerald’s Character

Students develop their understanding of the character Gerald, exploring the differences between his treatment of Eva/Daisy and Sheila, whilst reflecting on Edwardian gender expectations.

Lesson 15 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Understanding Mrs Birling

Students consider what factors impacted Mrs Birling’s treatment of Eva Smith, and create a universe of obligation graphic representation for her character.

GCSE Supplement
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Analytical Writing: A Character Paragraph

Students write an analytical paragraph on character having generated claims, selected evidence and read a model paragraph.

Lesson 16 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Eric's Decisions and Consent

Students consider the role power plays in the interactions between characters, focusing on the relationship between Eric and Eva, before discussing consent.

GCSE Supplement
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Persuasive Writing: A Speech about Consent

Students write a persuasive speech for sixth-form students on the importance of consent, having reviewed persuasive devices, generated claims and content, and read a model paragraph.

Lesson 17 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Inspecting Inspector Goole

Students create an identity chart for Inspector Goole, analyse his parting words, and look for clues to uncover who or what Inspector Goole is.

Lesson 18 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Social Systems and Individual Agency

Students identify the parts, people, and interactions of various social systems, thinking about what bearing they have on character choices and behaviour, before considering responses to injustice.

Lesson 19 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Putting the Characters on Trial

Students finish reading the play and participate in a court trial to decide which character is the most responsible for the death of Eva Smith.

Lesson 20 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Bearing Witness to Eva Smith

Students reflect on Priestley’s portrayal of Eva Smith and consider the symbolism of having a character who only appears in the narrative second-hand.

GCSE Supplement
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Analytical Writing: The GCSE Character Essay

Students write an essay on character having generated claims, selected and annotated evidence, and read a model essay.

Lesson 21 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

What Lessons Can We Learn?

Students address the essential question of the unit in a people's assembly, reflecting on the lessons that we can learn from An Inspector Calls.

GCSE Supplement
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Persuasive Writing: A Letter to a Newspaper for a Caring Community

Students write a persuasive letter to a local newspaper, which outlines the importance of considering the needs of others and suggests ways to create a more caring community.

Lesson 22 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Recurring Themes in the Play

Students prepare to write an essay on theme by identifying and analysing the themes explored in the play.

Lesson 23 of 23
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Theatre as a Call to Action

Students consider theatre as a call to action, discussing its power and limitations to spark real social change, before plotting their own play inspired by An Inspector Calls.

Requirements
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Alignment with Ofsted Requirements

Read about how this unit assists teachers and schools in fulfilling a range of statutory and non-statutory requirements as outlined in the 2019 Ofsted inspection handbook.

Requirements
Democracy & Civic Engagement

Alignment with the GCSE Specification

Read about how this unit is aligned with Ofqual’s subject aims and learning outcomes for both the English Literature and English Language GCSEs.

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