Seamus Heaney - The Play Way - Poetry Analysis

The Play Way

The Play Way As a young teacher Heaney was required to plan and assess lessons and teaching methods; his poem reports on a lesson he devised to encourage creative writing. Some things have not changed: classic sunlight entering in shafts through the window-panes (glass) seeks confirmation (probes each desk) of the sights smells and textures (milk-tops, drinking straws and old dry crusts) of a standard British classroom. In contrast, responding to a progressive Educational initiative of the period, the trainee goes for innovation: using a classical recording (music strides to challenge it) he eschews the ‘chalk-and-talk’ of his own school-days (mixing memory and desire with chalk-dust) and seeks the creative and emotional responses of the pupils themselves. His lesson-plan introduces Beethoven. Initial impertinence (‘Can we jive?’) (reflecting the culture of ordinary 1960s’ kids who saw little further than the ‘popular’ dance music of the time) is silenced by the big […read more….]