Reclaiming Learning Objectives

I’ve been wanting to write a blog about learning objectives for some time.  Whilst I think they can be a useful tool for teachers and students, they can easily be done badly. Certainly within English, they are prone to the type of genericism that undermines any shred of usefulness. There’s also no doubt that learning objectives have been complicit in…

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…

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…

Walking the Walk: Authentic Tests for GCSE classes

I’m writing this post in an attempt to contribute to this month’s blogsync: “What is the best place for testing in schools?” The other contributions can be found here. I write purely from personal experience. As ever, any feedback / criticisms are welcome. Authentic Tests This year our year elevens have been tested a lot. They’ve…

Risking it with Rhetoric Part Two: Designed to be Spoken

A couple of weeks ago I blogged about my experimentation with teaching rhetoric. The process marked a departure from what I had taught in previous years. My main justification for this was that if my students were going to analyse non-fiction, then certain speeches, packed full of fascinating language and steeped in our cultural history, would…

English Intervention: The Year 9 Masterclass

At the start of the year, I found myself in the unenviable position of overseeing progress in English for our KS3 students. As well as careful tracking of each student, I also meet fortnightly with other members of the unfortunately named ‘R.A.T’ (Raising Attainment Team), to discuss the progress of our students at KS3. There’s…

What does ‘showing’ progress mean anyway?

It is little wonder that with all the regulation within the teaching profession, teachers sometimes feel they need to justify or prove the work they are doing in the classroom. Regular observations, performance management and the need to be ‘Ofsted ready’ all contribute to pressures on teachers to find ways to demonstrate their effectiveness. Now,…