“Innovative, stimulating and fun resources for teaching English,” says one review of the Converse literature website, and who are we to disagree?
Designed through collaboration between teachers, pupils and Cambridge University English Faculty, Converse inspires young people’s imaginations and introduces them to some of the world’s most wonderful writing. From Shakespeare’s insults, to playing variant-texts
“We believe there’s no need for a trade-off between ‘intellectual’ and ‘fun,’” said Harriet Truscott, the Project Lead. “We think that stretching your brain, finding new ways of thinking, and experiencing those ‘aha!’ moments are huge fun, but they’re also what learning and school is all about.” Harriet was determined to create resources that supported learning in its broadest sense, having seen too much ‘educational’ software which constricts learning to what a computer can measure. “I think it’s important to recognise that often, these resources will be used in a classroom context, and that they should support that, rather than fighting against it. A lot of the Converse resources are designed as starting points for pair-work and classroom discussion. Over the course of the project, we visited huge numbers of schools across the country, and watched how they used our resources in practice. Then, we went back and changed the things that didn’t work in practice, and kept the features that did.”
Does Harriet have a particular favourite resource? “Definitely! My Masters thesis was on the importance of textual variants, and I love one Wilfred Owen resource, which encourages students to consider the different words that Owen experimented with in his famous poem, ‘Dulce et Decorum’. It just shows how high-quality intellectual materials can create a stimulating and thought-provoking classroom activity.”