Lesson 16 The Mystery of our Success

Lesson 16  on Different Perspectives

The culmination of our 5 years together in the Convent remedial group was the English CSE examination.

Over the years we evolved a pattern of working that suited us.  We spent a lot of time talking about our work, discussing the books we were reading, the television we watched.  Soap operas and newspaper articles provided a rich source of moral dilemmas and real world dramas to be debated.

We read our class readers aloud, as well as using them in a variety of ways for  homework.  Whenever possible we watched film and TV dramatisations of our texts.  This was not nearly so easy as it is nowadays.  The school system involved arranging for the technician to record your chosen programme, then booking a slot in the AV room to have it played back at an appointed time.

To watch a documentary on the American South I had recorded myself (we were reading To Kill a Mocking Bird at the time) we had to take the school minibus round to someone’s house and watch it in their front room!

Worksheets were preferred to English textbooks, because they could be tailored to our needs.  I would devise these, write them out long- hand, then run them off on a Banda machine, a messy, evil-smelling, temperamental piece of equipment.  It was a wonder we weren’t all poisoned by the fumes.

Every so often we would have a concentrated blitz on written work, sometimes working for a week on a particular topic, till we had got it well and truly mastered.

At the end of all this came the English CSE.

When the results came out, we had done really well, achieving higher grades than the next group up.

“Isn’t it amazing, Miss,” said Rosemary. “We ended up better than Mrs Young’s group!”  She paused to puzzle it over before delivering her killer phrase.

“And we never did anything!”

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