English Teaching


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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Apr

27

2017
Teaching Narrative writing at GCSE

Teaching Narrative writing at GCSE

“Talking in bed ought to be easiest, Lying together there goes back so far, An emblem of two people being honest. Yet more and more time passes silently.” Philip Larkin ‘Talking in Bed’.  The new term begins: the Year 10 students eagerly dive into the classroom, well rested and primed for the next five weeks. Their newly bronzed faces speak only of a desire to...

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Apr

13

2017
The Revision Collection

The Revision Collection

Life is divided into three terms – that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the present, and from the present, to live better in the future. William Wordsworth. Last year, at the ripe old age of thirty, I passed my driving test. After years of running and cycling everywhere the time had come to...

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Apr

05

2017
Stepping stones to GCSE: using King’s ‘I have a dream.’

Stepping stones to GCSE: using King’s ‘I have a dream.’

“Let’s enjoy it while we can (let’s enjoy it while we can) Won’t you help me share my load (help me share my load) From the dark end of the street To the bright side of the road.” Van Morrison ‘Bright Side of the Road’. I’m happy to publicly admit it: I am going through a full Van Morrison obsession. It is insatiable, he is...

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