English Literature KS3 / GCSE: 'Flag' by John Agard (analysis)

John Agard dictates excerpts of his poem ‘Flag’ and the ‘journey of questions’ the poem invokes.

He discusses the symbolism of flags, from a simple piece of cloth to Imperialism, and asks if humanity waves a flag or if we are controlled by our own ideology.

Inspiration for poetry writing and a lack of rules is also considered.

This is from the BBC series, Poets in Person.

Teacher Notes

This short film could be used as an introduction to the central themes of the poem.

Agard asks, 'Is humanity waving the flag, or is the flag waving humanity?'.

Students could be asked to note down the different images used in this short film, and discuss these in relation to Agard's premise.

Which images and ideas in the film could be described as the flag controlling peoples' ideas or people's own ideas controlling the flag?

Is there any overlap between these two ideas?

Curriculum Notes

This short film will be relevant for teaching English literature at KS3 and KS4/GCSE in England and Northern Ireland. Also English language at KS3 and English literature at GCSE in Wales.

This topic appears in OCR, Edexcel, AQA, WJEC in England and Wales and CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland.

More from the series: Poets in Person

English Literature KS3 / GCSE: 'Praise Song for My Mother' by Grace Nichols (analysis)
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English Literature KS3 / GCSE: 'Praise Song for My Mother' by Grace Nichols (poem only)
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English Literature KS3 / GCSE: 'Flag' by John Agard (poem only)
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English Literature KS3 / GCSE: 'The Right Word' by Imtiaz Dharker (analysis)
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English Literature KS3 / GCSE: 'The Right Word' by Imtiaz Dharker (poem only)
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English Literature KS3 / GCSE: 'Ghazal' by Mimi Khalvati (poem only)
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English Literature KS3 / GCSE: 'Ghazal' by Mimi Khalvati (analysis)
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English Literature KS3 / GCSE: 'Singh Song' by Daljit Nagra (poem only)
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English Literature KS3 / GCSE: 'Singh Song' by Daljit Nagra (analysis)
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English Literature KS3 / GCSE: 'Checking Out Me History' by John Agard (analysis)
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English Literature KS3 / GCSE: 'Checking Out Me History' by John Agard (poem only)
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