May

19

2022
Using Coaching to Enhance ITE Mentoring

Using Coaching to Enhance ITE Mentoring

I ran an online training session for ITE mentors at Sunderland University yesterday. The purpose was to look at ways in which mentors could apply some coaching principles to support their work with new teachers. They are very lucky in that the wonderful Haili Hughes runs this work at the university; if you haven’t read her brilliant book ‘Mentoring in Schools,’ I would highly recommend...

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May

11

2022
English. Open book with language hand drawn doodles and lettering on yellow background. Education vector illustration.

What makes a good English lesson?

In reflecting on the design of the curriculum for the English PGDE I will be running from August, it has struck me again how wonderfully complex teaching is. For someone stepping into the classroom for the first time, there is a baffling amount to learn. I’m not sure that there are many other professions that can initially appear to be so intimidating, terrifying and overwhelming....

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May

05

2022
Classroom Communication: Clarity 

Classroom Communication: Clarity 

It was my wee boy’s fourth birthday party last week. The garden was to play host to a ninety-minute extravaganza of exciting activities: with eleven three-and-four year old’s frolicking in the sunshine. Inevitably, five minutes before the little darlings arrived it started to pour with rain. Cue eleven three-and-four year old’s now squeezed into our living room. A desperate consultation between my wife and I...

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Apr

28

2022
What do new English teachers need to know?

What do new English teachers need to know?

I moved to a new role this week: one that doesn’t involve either a school bell, or a classroom full of teenagers. I am tasked instead with planning out the content for new English teacher training year at Napier University here in Edinburgh, which I will be running from August. I hope to use this blog to crystallise some of the thinking I do in...

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Mar

25

2022
‘Generation Lockdown Writes’ Book

‘Generation Lockdown Writes’ Book

In the first lockdown in March 2020, I started a creative writing competition called ‘Generation Lockdown Writes’ with a wonderful former student of mine, Amy Langdown. You can read about the competition here: www.generationlockdown.co.uk  I am so excited and proud that to mark the two year anniversary of the lockdown, next week the book will be published by John Catt. All the profits from the...

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Jan

20

2022
Teacher Well-being: Applying the PERMA model.

Teacher Well-being: Applying the PERMA model.

I gave an online talk at Mortimer Community College this week. In it, I was exploring the steps teachers can take to both teach effectively and build the resilience needed to thrive in our wonderful but demanding profession. I have been fascinated by this question for a number of years now: what helps people to achieve their potential and sustain themselves in teaching? It has...

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Jan

06

2022
Introducing: ‘Is Anyone Listening? A Communication toolbox for teachers’

Introducing: ‘Is Anyone Listening? A Communication toolbox for teachers’

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place”  George Bernard Shaw  Teaching is communication. How we speak, how we act, how we express ourselves in the classroom is absolutely vital. It can be the difference between building positive relationships and inspiring a deep love of learning, to a complete breakdown in how our classrooms and learning function. What we...

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Nov

12

2021
Learning from mistakes

Learning from mistakes

‘Teacher Resilience: Managing stress and anxiety to thrive in the classroom’ came out a year ago today. This is a chapter for anyone who, like me, feels they have already made a hundred mistakes since this academic year started! Anxious anecdote As the class rampaged out of the door, a huge sigh of relief escaped from Darrol. To say the lesson had been a disaster...

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Oct

30

2021
“Yes we can”: the language of optimism in the classroom.

“Yes we can”: the language of optimism in the classroom.

My six-month year-old has decided his day should begin at an even more unsociably early hour over the past few weeks. In the spirit of optimism, there are some perks: we have managed to sit through three-two hour documentaries on Barack Obama’s rise to the American presidency over the past month. Early morning bonding indeed. I have been writing about applying minimalism principles to the...

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Jan

28

2021
Teaching Creative Writing on Teams

Teaching Creative Writing on Teams

  I am a strong believer in the benefits of writing in supporting mental health and wellbeing. I know how much it has helped me, particularly over the last five years. Oliver Sacks captures the immersive power of it poignantly in the final paragraph of his autobiography ‘On The Move’: “The act of writing, when it goes well, gives me a pleasure, a joy, unlike...

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