English Teaching


Aug

28

2018
Retro Microphone

The TES English Teaching Podcast

For the past two months I have had a social media and, for the most part, educational break. I haven’t read anything on education, I haven’t seen a single Twitter feed and I have, as far as possible, tried to live a mobile phone free existence. I won’t bore you too much with the rationale for this, and fear not – this is not another...

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Jun

15

2018
Summer term experiments: Year 10, ‘Invictus’ and ’12 Years a Slave.’

Summer term experiments: Year 10, ‘Invictus’ and ’12 Years a Slave.’

    “Don’t address their brains, address their hearts.” Nelson Mandela. This mission to develop the reading confidence of my low set Year 10 group continued with earnest this week. Last weekend, I spent a delightful hour rummaging around my book shelf to find some suitable extracts (my long suffering wife seemed to have issues with my retort that I couldn’t possibly complete any housework,...

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Jun

08

2018
Summer term experiments: Year 10, extracts and creative writing.

Summer term experiments: Year 10, extracts and creative writing.

“Above all, I have been a sentient being, a thinking animal, on this beautiful planet, and that in itself has been an enormous privilege and adventure.” Oliver Sacks ‘Gratitude.’ The sun is shining, exams are (finally) coming to a close and there are now glimpses of time available to think and be creative in the classroom. My low set Year 10 now need some serious...

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May

23

2018
On unseen poetry and comparing texts: royal adventures.

On unseen poetry and comparing texts: royal adventures.

“The preacher is doing 50 in a 30 zone and it’s brilliant.” Jeremy Vine. As a Manchester United fan (the less said the better) and with running the Edinburgh marathon looming terrifyingly on Sunday, I was on the hunt for some solace this weekend. It arrived in the most unexpected of places: the wonderfully passionate speech of the preacher Michael Curry that stole the show...

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May

04

2018
Last minute Year 11 lessons: a collection.

Last minute Year 11 lessons: a collection.

“I don’t want to know about evil Only want to know about love I don’t want to know about evil Only want to know about love” John Martyn ‘Don’t want to know’ Our lovely wee boy, Christopher,  entered the world last Monday. While he has fully embraced his literary nickname of ‘Christopher Robin’, one thing he has well and truly refused to even recognise is...

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Apr

13

2018
Non-fiction Writing Revision

Non-fiction Writing Revision

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” ― F. Scott Fitzgerald Now I’m confident Mr Fitzgerald has some sage (perhaps even ‘Great’) guidance to pass on about the writing process. But just how often did he tackle the challenge of helping thirty adolescents find ‘something to say’, when faced with non-fiction writing tasks? I have...

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Jan

18

2018
Developing English Language confidence with ‘127 Hours’

Developing English Language confidence with ‘127 Hours’

“When I look up, the backlit stone falling toward my head consumes the sky.” ‘127 Hours: Between a Rock and a Hard Place’ by Aron Ralston (2004).  I teach one lesson a week with a Year 9 group of thirteen students. There are twelve boys and one female student. The lesson is called ‘Secure’, with the idea that it boosts the English skills of nominated...

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Jan

12

2018
Developing critical and careful readers of non-fiction texts in Year 11.

Developing critical and careful readers of non-fiction texts in Year 11.

“Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason why so few engage in it.” Henry Ford Having had a number of what should have been post gluttony hibernation days ruthlessly stolen by mock examination marking over the holidays, I am determined that this investment will lead to tangible improvements for my Year 11 group. Mocks can often fuel workload frustrations, particularly...

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Dec

01

2017
Teaching ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’

Teaching ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’

“Prime numbers are what is left when you have taken all the patterns away. I think prime numbers are like life. They are very logical but you could never work out the rules, even if you spent all your time thinking about them.” (Christopher Boone, Chapter 19, p. 12) At the start of this term I was a bit perplexed about how to approach Mark...

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Nov

17

2017
How do writers create effect? Year 11 and ‘Enduring Love’

How do writers create effect? Year 11 and ‘Enduring Love’

“I’ve never seen such a terrible thing as that falling man” Ian McEwan ‘Enduring Love’ In the spirit of ‘Enduring November,’ a month that for us hard working teacher folk feels like a never ending marathon, a post on using Ian McEwan’s wonderful ‘Enduring Love’ with my Year 11 group. Today saw the the beginning of the mock exam preparations, which this year will see my group...

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