What’s the Point of English?

What follows is a conversation between me and two year 11 students at school. It happened during a weekly lunchtime intervention session, where we feed the students tea, toast, and sandwiches. We also talk about their progress and help them plan their revision and study time. This conversation was about the ‘point’ of English. I’ve…

Reducing Workload Part 2: Policy vs. Autonomy

Imagine your school brings in a new element of a behaviour policy to tackle student lateness. Now, students who are late to lessons receive an immediate sanction of some sorts. You do your best to uphold the policy, but the teacher next door doesn’t – they feel it’s for the best that students don’t receive…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…