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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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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