Teaching Poetry: Vocabulary Matters

Several months ago, I was observing a colleague within the English Department. The class was studying poetry from world war one. Their books were immaculate and showed real engagement with some difficult poems. It was clear from observing their behaviour and looking at the quality of work that they had been taught very well. After around…

Old books, New Surprises.

I had a marvellous moment in class last week. I discovered something new about a book that I thought I knew inside out, a book that I’d taught many times and read cover to cover on many, many occasions. We were revising Of Mice and Men, in preparation for the prose exam next week. Our focus…

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…

William Blake and the Connections between Knowledge.

This summer we decided to stay in the UK for our holiday. I’ve always felt a little ashamed of how little of my homeland I’ve actually seen. We stayed in the beautiful lake district, drove to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games and spent a couple of days soaking up history around Hadrian’s Wall. In Glasgow we…

Persuasive Writing and the Elements of Eloquence

If someone asked you what the purpose of blogging was, what would you say? If you’re an education blogger, what label would you pick as the purpose of your craft? Is it writing to argue? Writing to persuade? Or, does it also contain information? Perhaps even, a little advice? Or, am I asking you to place an arbitrary…

John the Reader

Like many other English teachers, I spend a lot of time thinking about what texts I should study with my classes. All English teachers, I believe, care deeply about their students’ reading, and are keen to develop a love of reading, so that students will read for pleasure throughout their school careers and beyond. So…