English Teaching


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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Mar

29

2017
English Language extracts: Smashing the superficial with Dickens.

English Language extracts: Smashing the superficial with Dickens.

“NOW, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life. Plant nothing else, and root out everything else.” Charles Dickens ‘Hard Times’ Fine, the facts: in the course of a two hour GCSE exam the students will have one hour, one long 20th century fiction extract (roughly 65-70 lines) to unpick challenging plot and language and hunt...

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Mar

24

2017
The Ghost of Memory: Revision and retention for ‘A Christmas Carol’

The Ghost of Memory: Revision and retention for ‘A Christmas Carol’

“You recollect the way?” inquired the Spirit. “Remember it!” cried Scrooge with fervour; “I could walk it blindfold.” My Year 11 group initially studied ‘A Christmas Carol’ in the first term of Year 10. Three weeks ago we dusted off Marley’s chains and began revising it, eight weeks in advance of their exam. My opening gambit was deliberately provocative: each student was presented with a...

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Mar

03

2017
Revising unseen poetry

Revising unseen poetry

“Hope is being able to see there is light despite all of the darkness” Desmond Tutu. This gentleman beautifully encapsulates Year 11’s approach to unseen poetry at this stage of the term: utterly lacking in direction and blindly searching for something, anything to hold on to.  I fully empathise with them: how often can we immediately grasp the nuances of poetry on a first reading, let...

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Feb

10

2017
Alice in Readerland: Year 7 and Doug Lemov’s ‘Reading Reconsidered’

Alice in Readerland: Year 7 and Doug Lemov’s ‘Reading Reconsidered’

“It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” ― Lewis Carroll, ‘Alice in Wonderland’ How far to extend and challenge year Year 7? What is the balance between engagement and rigour in the Key Stage Three classroom? What do we want to secure in terms of reading habits in Year 7? As I highlighted in this post evaluating the research on...

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Jan

27

2017
Preparing Year 9 for GCSE: Teaching Shakespeare

Preparing Year 9 for GCSE: Teaching Shakespeare

“Tis a villain, sir, I do not love to look upon”. Shakespeare ‘The Tempest’ Miranda’s scathing rebuttal of Caliban is a slightly more eloquent version of the reaction of my Year 9 classes to the discovery that they would be spending seven weeks in the company of Shakespeare at the start of this term. As this post on teaching narrative last term highlights, I teach two Year...

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Jan

13

2017
Eduqas Component 2 Mock informed teaching: an action plan.

Eduqas Component 2 Mock informed teaching: an action plan.

But all the clocks in the city Began to whirr and chime: ‘O let not Time deceive you, You cannot conquer Time. W.H Auden “As I walked out one evening’ One of the pleasures of starting the  A-Z of classic Literature challenge this month has been spending some time in the company of W. H Auden (confession: much less enthusiastic about the time spent with Austen’s ‘Emma’!) The...

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