Oct

15

2017
Tackling teacher insomnia: the sleep-easy teacher.

Tackling teacher insomnia: the sleep-easy teacher.

“We are such stuff as dreams are made on and our little life is rounded with a sleep” William Shakespeare ‘The Tempest’ In our relentlessly fast modern culture, there is one thing that is left tragically ignored. It is a spurred outsider, certainly not embracing our twenty four hour ‘always on’ lifestyle. Carl Honore in ‘In praise of Slow’ describes this incessant need for activity, pace...

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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

29

2017
Ten Questioning Strategies

Ten Questioning Strategies

“The wise man doesn’t give the right answers, he poses the right questions.” Claude Levi-Strauss Einstein would be rather chuffed: I have spent the last two weeks questioning everything about my approach to questioning in the classroom. Having written about the questioning traps that I kept finding myself stumbling into with new groups, I have made developing questioning in the classroom my pedagogical mission for this year....

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Sep

15

2017
Question mark heap on table concept for confusion, question or solution

Questioning Traps

“A prudent question is one half of wisdom” Frances Bacon. There is always something slightly tentative about the first two weeks of term: students are eying us up carefully, deciding exactly how they are going to respond to our magnificent lessons (rather Machievalian I know!)   I have had an interesting week with a Year 9 group who at the moment are heroically quiet, eerily...

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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

30

2017
Tackling over-reliance on marking

Tackling over-reliance on marking

Over-reliance: Excessive dependence on or trust in someone or something. “They just don’t pay any attention”. “Yet again they haven’t understood.” “Why doesn’t anyone listen to me?” These teacher miseries can be heard in every staffroom across the land: how often do we castigate classes for what appears to be their glaring inability to translate lesson time into a quality final output in their books? How...

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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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Aug

02

2017
Essential summer reads: ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Teachers’

Essential summer reads: ‘Battle Hymn of the Tiger Teachers’

“It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows’ Epictetus Having spent the last sixteen days with a group of seventeen Year 12 students completing a World Challenge project in South India, perspective is a word I have been thinking carefully about. Seeing these young people completely outside of their comfort zone, attempting to not only lead but help rebuild...

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Jul

03

2017
Learning at Leeds Education Festival: ‘Building hope in education’

Learning at Leeds Education Festival: ‘Building hope in education’

“If you want to change the world, start with yourself” Mahatma Ghandi It seems fitting for a final post of this academic year to celebrate the power of learning. Having read and thought about a huge amount of wonderful books and blogs this year and produced my own fair amount of dubious eduwaffle, a first visit to an education conference seems a delightful way to conclude....

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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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