Jun

14

2022
man holds his hand near ear and listens carefully alphabet letters flying in isolated on gray wall background

Improving Listening in the Classroom: Teachers

I have been reading the terrific ‘You’re Not Listening’ by Kate Murphy. Over the next two weeks, I want to share some of the thinking from it in two blog posts: one on how teachers can develop their own listening, and the second on how we can seek to actively teach listening in the classroom. Murphy believes that listening is a skills and art that...

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Jun

08

2022
The Wolf You Feed: Behaviour

The Wolf You Feed: Behaviour

  I’m a big fan of this famous Cherokee legend about two wolves: One evening, an old Cherokee tells his grandson that inside all people, a battle goes on between two wolves. One wolf is negativity: anger, sadness, stress, contempt, disgust, fear, embarrassment, guilt, shame, and hate. The other is positivity: joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and above all, love. The...

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Jun

02

2022
An Introvert’s Guide to Public Speaking

An Introvert’s Guide to Public Speaking

When I was researching and writing ‘A Quiet Education’ a few years ago, there was a common theme from all the introverted teachers, leaders and young people I interviewed: a deep aversion to public speaking. Perhaps ‘aversion’ is the wrong word, it was almost as if introverts felt that they were excluded in some way from the art of public speaking. For teachers, that often...

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May

26

2022
Differentiation in an English lesson: a case study.

Differentiation in an English lesson: a case study.

One area of English teaching I have always found difficult to articulate clearly about is differentiation. I have been blogging about the process of designing a new English PGDE curriculum, and wrestling this week with how to approach differentiation as a topic. The new teachers I work with will, quite rightly, have to evidence how they are providing effective support for learners in the classroom...

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May

19

2022
Using Coaching to Enhance ITE Mentoring

Using Coaching to Enhance ITE Mentoring

I ran an online training session for ITE mentors at Sunderland University yesterday. The purpose was to look at ways in which mentors could apply some coaching principles to support their work with new teachers. They are very lucky in that the wonderful Haili Hughes runs this work at the university; if you haven’t read her brilliant book ‘Mentoring in Schools,’ I would highly recommend...

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May

11

2022
English. Open book with language hand drawn doodles and lettering on yellow background. Education vector illustration.

What makes a good English lesson?

In reflecting on the design of the curriculum for the English PGDE I will be running from August, it has struck me again how wonderfully complex teaching is. For someone stepping into the classroom for the first time, there is a baffling amount to learn. I’m not sure that there are many other professions that can initially appear to be so intimidating, terrifying and overwhelming....

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May

05

2022
Classroom Communication: Clarity 

Classroom Communication: Clarity 

It was my wee boy’s fourth birthday party last week. The garden was to play host to a ninety-minute extravaganza of exciting activities: with eleven three-and-four year old’s frolicking in the sunshine. Inevitably, five minutes before the little darlings arrived it started to pour with rain. Cue eleven three-and-four year old’s now squeezed into our living room. A desperate consultation between my wife and I...

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Apr

28

2022
What do new English teachers need to know?

What do new English teachers need to know?

I moved to a new role this week: one that doesn’t involve either a school bell, or a classroom full of teenagers. I am tasked instead with planning out the content for new English teacher training year at Napier University here in Edinburgh, which I will be running from August. I hope to use this blog to crystallise some of the thinking I do in...

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Mar

25

2022
‘Generation Lockdown Writes’ Book

‘Generation Lockdown Writes’ Book

In the first lockdown in March 2020, I started a creative writing competition called ‘Generation Lockdown Writes’ with a wonderful former student of mine, Amy Langdown. You can read about the competition here: www.generationlockdown.co.uk  I am so excited and proud that to mark the two year anniversary of the lockdown, next week the book will be published by John Catt. All the profits from the...

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Jan

20

2022
Teacher Well-being: Applying the PERMA model.

Teacher Well-being: Applying the PERMA model.

I gave an online talk at Mortimer Community College this week. In it, I was exploring the steps teachers can take to both teach effectively and build the resilience needed to thrive in our wonderful but demanding profession. I have been fascinated by this question for a number of years now: what helps people to achieve their potential and sustain themselves in teaching? It has...

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