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…

Explicit Grammar: Teaching Relative Clauses

I’ve been experimenting this year with different ways of making the mechanics of writing a little more explicit to my students. My hope is that the more grammar knowledge my students have, the more explicitly they can understand their choices when writing. For some, this might involve showing them something new. For others, it might make them a…

Is Matt Damon right about creativity?

On Sunday, the traffic on the M4 was horrible. I was on my way home from Wembley, having watched my team win a cup competition not important enough to dwell on. After around 2 hours of struggling out of London, I found myself desperately clinging to the last few percent of my phone’s battery. And, as…

The Problem with Plenaries

If group work was the holy grail of my teacher training, effective plenaries were definitely the pedagogical white rabbit – the element of the lesson you always felt was achievable, but nevertheless remained elusive. Running out of time for a plenary during an official observation was almost to be expected, but cramming it in for two minutes was…

Beautiful language, beautiful analysis?

If students are given more beautiful language to explore, would their analysis itself be more beautiful? One of my biggest priorities this year is preparing my year 11 classes for their exams. Sure, this statement is unlikely to make it into any teacher recruitment literature, but it’s an unavoidable fact of teaching. And to this…

Things I wish they’d told me.

I graduated with a PGCE from The University of Bristol  in 2011. Here’s five things I wish they’d told me. 1. Just because things are shiny and new, it doesn’t mean the kids learn more. OK. Maybe I’m slightly exaggerating here. I was never explicitly told that just by making things appear sparkly and laced with a ‘new’ piece of technology…

Blogworms

earworm ˈɪəwəːm/ noun  a catchy song or tune that runs continually through someone’s mind. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the sensation of the ‘earworm’. It’s that one song, or usually fragment of a song that replays through your mind over the course of a day, or perhaps even longer. And, no matter where you…