Jun

16

2017
Ten public speaking tips for teachers.

Ten public speaking tips for teachers.

“What you are speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” Ralph Emerson Is there a profession that demands skilled public speaking more than teaching? We are on stage all day, every day, at the whim and fancy of the most capricious (and wonderful!) of audiences: adolescents. How we present ourselves while we are on our classroom platform is vitally important: influencing the dynamic...

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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

31

2017
‘Honest Abe’: Teaching lessons from Lincoln.

‘Honest Abe’: Teaching lessons from Lincoln.

“Whatever you are, be a good one.” Abraham Lincoln A horrifying realisation struck me mid frolics in hills of the Yorkshire Dales on Sunday: six months of 2017 has vanished and I have read nothing related to history this year (clearly my fresh air inspired ruminations are always of such a profound and intellectual nature). Not a single jot. Once I had recovered from this startling revelation...

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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

19

2017
The benefits of becoming a minimalist teacher.

The benefits of becoming a minimalist teacher.

Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all. — Nathan W. Morris It is an image familiar in educational environments throughout the land: the red faced, exhausted and agitated teacher, surrounded by streams of student books, paper strewn haphazardly around their desk. The walls are covered in faded, yellowing posters – with the obligatory superfluous rules of the classroom dog-eared and tragically ignored...

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May

12

2017

Peps Mccrea’s ‘Memorable Teaching’: memory in the classroom

“The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.” L.P Hartley ‘The Go Between’ In the opening of L.P Hartley’s ‘The Go Between’ (sloth like process through the A-Z of classic literature reading challenge!) the protagonist, Leo Colston, discovers a red cardboard box which is full of inconsequential objects and a diary from over fifty years ago. This fascinating discovery leads him to...

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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

21

2017
‘One Day Like This’: On ensuring a confident and calm term.

‘One Day Like This’: On ensuring a confident and calm term.

“Throw those curtains wide! One day like this a year would see me right.” Elbow: ‘One Day Like This’ Elbow’s ‘One Day Like This’ ends with a gloriously optimistic two and a half minutes, with Guy Garvey’s impassioned repetition of the above refrain building to a crescendo. Never has a song so wonderfully and obviously juxtaposed the act of waking up at the start of a new term....

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Apr

19

2017
‘Slow Teaching: finding calm, clarity and impact in the classroom’

‘Slow Teaching: finding calm, clarity and impact in the classroom’

Introduction to ‘Slow Teaching,’ which will be published by John Catt Educational on March 2nd 2018. It is available to order from Amazon here. The Slow Teaching Philosophy You have taken the first step: hesitantly opening the pages of this book. There may be elements of doubt in your mind as you recall the repertoire of more fashionable and effective teaching behaviours, a speed-induced cocktail with...

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