How do you feel about war?
A set of engaging and thoughtful teaching ideas to help students to consider the context of poems, changing historical attitudes to war and conflict and to respond to Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem 'The Charge of the Light Brigade'.
Could be used for a Remembrance Day lesson activity or as an introductory or first reading task for the poem.
Teaching ideas from the resource:
- Ask students what their reactions are to the events described in the poem. Ask them whether they think the men in the cavalry were brave.
- They then prepare to take part in a class debate by listing three points they could make. They should refer to Tennyson’s ideas expressed in the poem as well as their own.
- Ask students to imagine that they were newspaper reporters at the time of the events described in the poem. Using the poem as their source of information, they should write three possible headlines for an article about the charge.
- They then choose one of these headlines and write an article of about three hundred words in length. They will have to make up some of the details.
Presentations of the poem
- To get students to think about the atmosphere and mood of the poem, ask them to list three songs to accompany a television documentary about the poem. They should write two sentences for each, explaining why they chose that song.
- Ask students to prepare a presentation for a school assembly or college debate in which they argue either for or against war, using evidence from the poem to support their ideas.