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…

The Majesty of the Markbook

‘Ergonomic Classroom Advisers’. If such a thing doesn’t already exist, I’d be surprised. An advisory group must be out there somewhere; checking teachers are looking at their PCs from the correct angle; that their chairs provide the maximal support for their aching backs; that their coffee cups contain precisely the right amount to last the…

My day at PedagooSW

I was delighted when Pedagoo SW was announced to be coming to Bristol. Aside from a 3 year interlude at University, which is all a little bit of a blur, I’ve lived in and around Bristol my whole life and love the idea that we can welcome a group of people from around the UK…

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…

Risking it with Rhetoric: Part One

This in the first in a series of three posts on a teaching experiment this year. The lessons described and the examples used all come from my mixed ability year 8 class. Risking it with Rhetoric The last time I taught a year 8 class was in my NQT year, two years ago. The particular topic…

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…