McGonagall in the Lecture Hall

Filed under: Education; in the year 2013, on the 22nd day of October at 11:35 pm

Jason Blake, in an article on the Better Living Though Beowulf blog, describes how he uses McGonagall’s most (in)famous work in his English classes at the University of Ljubljana. Needless to say, he doesn’t present it as an example of high art – the article is entitled The Worst Poem Ever Published – but as “a perfect guide to what a poem should not be.”

Blake’s students are asked to identify the worst lines of the The Tay Bridge Disaster and explain what is wrong with them – a task which elicits “at least a dozen different and creative answers.” It sounds like a great class – no wonder they’re disappointed to hear that he won’t be featuring in the exam.

I would personally take issue with the “worst poem” label though. Whilst it breaks every rule in the poetical book (and more besides), we’re still reading and enjoying this poem 130 years after it was written. How many “good” poems can say that? Give me McGonagall’s inspired incompetence over his worthy-but-dull contemporaries any time!


Lesson Plans Anybody?

Filed under: Education; in the year 2012, on the 17th day of April at 1:33 pm

A reader of the site makes a request vital to the proper education of our youngsters:

Dear McGonagallians,

I have admired your website before, and share your admiration for Dundee’s most famous bard. I am a student teacher and would dearly love to bring McGonagall’s execrable verses to a new generation of learners. Do you happen to know if anyone has created teaching resources or lesson plans to bring the great man into classrooms before? If so, I would be most interested to see them.

Many cheers,

Can anybody help him out? I’d like to post any lesson plans you might have (or that Alan might create) on this website too, if possible.