English Teaching


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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Nov

03

2017
An action plan for teaching ‘A Christmas Carol’

An action plan for teaching ‘A Christmas Carol’

“Foggier yet, and colder! Piercing, searching, biting cold.” Charles Dickens ‘A Christmas Carol’ There is always an element of “Bah, humbug” about this week. Back to work blues is combined with the unwelcome clock rewind, and the apparent colour of choice being an encompassing and rather depressing black. Ahead lies a long half term:  who needs day light any more? Nevertheless, as Marley would quip: “It is required...

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Oct

06

2017
The mystery of teaching narrative writing

The mystery of teaching narrative writing

“If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become part of someone else’s story” Terry Pratchett Despite various posts grappling with the mystery of teaching narrative writing last year, I still feel that I haven’t quite grasped the best way to approach it. The issue confounds itself with the fact I am teaching two very different GCSE groups this year: a low set Year 10 group...

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Sep

08

2017
Teaching ‘Macbeth’: extract questions

Teaching ‘Macbeth’: extract questions

 ‘So foul and fair a day I have not seen.’ Macbeth’ Act one, scene three There are elements of Macbeth and Banquo’s first meeting with the witches that eerily mirror the first week back at school. As much as we might relish and love our jobs and as much as we might feel rejuvenated, there is always a moment of shock when presented with a room...

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Aug

22

2017
Essential summer reads: ‘Making Every English Lesson Count’

Essential summer reads: ‘Making Every English Lesson Count’

“It’s been a long, long time coming but I know a change is gotta come” Otis Redding ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ This is always an edgy, nerve wracking week in education land. Wednesday night sees the inevitable fraught sleep, haunted by visions of a floating mass of grade ones and floods of adolescent tears drowning us. Just me? Positive or negative, post results days...

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Jun

27

2017
Preparing Year 9 for GCSE: demystifying Dickens

Preparing Year 9 for GCSE: demystifying Dickens

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” Benjamin Franklin There is nothing worse than ending a year feeling like you haven’t managed to “win over” a group. Last year my Year 9 group strolled out of our final lesson and I felt that deflated tug. A troublesome group, they tested me in every single aspect: behaviour management, planning, relationships – the whole cocktail....

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Jun

09

2017
Teaching ‘To Autumn’ by John Keats

Teaching ‘To Autumn’ by John Keats

“Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun” John Keats ‘To Autumn’ Time to be honest: the exam “season” is as far from “mellow fruitfulness” as can be imagined for everyone involved. It certainly isn’t a “close bosom-friend” of anything related to me,  let alone how the poor students feel about it. Yet as Year 11 clutch their sweaty pens for a final time...

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May

24

2017
Teaching Narrative writing part two: slow and seductive modelling.

Teaching Narrative writing part two: slow and seductive modelling.

“Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” — Samuel Johnson A quick confession that would have Mr Johnson spinning in his grave: I left London. Nearly half a decade was enough for me,...

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May

05

2017
Teaching poetry at Key Stage Three: securing skills.

Teaching poetry at Key Stage Three: securing skills.

“If a poem hasn’t ripped apart your soul; you haven’t experienced poetry.” ― Edgar Allan Poe I would class myself as a poetry fan. In fact, in the obscurity of this space I can drop the conventional restrained politeness. I can wax lyrically without reserve, without the inevitable eyebrow arched response and the incredulous glance. I can euphorically pronounce a passion and love for it that usually has anyone...

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