Teaching Poetry: Five ways in

I find teaching poetry to be one of the most difficult aspects of being an English teacher. To so many students I teach, poems are impenetrable puzzles, or written in language so unfamiliar that their first instinct is to balk before we’ve even began. It’s also an area I’ve struggled with. I’ve spent far too much…

What do we want from the KS3 Curriculum?

Around two and a half years ago, Head teacher Tom Sherrington posted this tweet. It left a lasting impression on me, and I suspect many others: If there was no OfSTED, no league tables, no SLT… just you and your class..what would you choose to do to make it GREAT? Do that anyway… At a time where…

How do you teach a novel you’ve never taught before?

When the new specifications changed, and texts like To Kill a Mockingbird and Of Mice and Men were removed from the GCSE syllabus, I was pretty upset. Not because I felt that these texts were somehow ‘better’ than the ones set to replace them, not because I have a particular love for American literature, not because I thought…

Words, Images, Contexts: Making Inferences Explicit

A lot seems to happen when we make inferences. Often so much, that it can be hard to articulate. We read a word, a phrase, a whole sentence, and this collides with our knowledge. Not just our knowledge of words, but our knowledge of the world, our history as readers, as well as any contextual knowledge…