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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Jun

23

2017
On doubt and Direct Instruction

On doubt and Direct Instruction

“I don’t believe anyone ever suspects how completely unsure I am of my work and myself and what tortures of self-doubting the doubt of others has always given me.” ― Tennessee Williams Reaching the end of my first academic year of blogging and engaging with online dialogue about teaching, there is one frequent aspect that keeps resurfacing. It is an element that appears to be the driving force...

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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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