The Purpose of Schools

It seems it is time for my annual rage. Every year, sometimes bi-annually just for fun, newspapers run stories from often high-profile businesspeople bemoaning the fact that young people are not being taught the right things in schools. People don’t understand how to write letters in the style the company requires, aren’t sure how the…

The World Outside

My interest in CPD doesn’t seem to be one that is likely to end any time soon. Knowing that so much time has been invested, with seemingly so little impact on what happens in the classroom, continues to buzz round my head like an annoying mosquito. I know that when professionals do get access to…

The Tragedy of Macbeth

Some Reflections I recently had the pleasure of watching Joel Coen’s The Tragedy of Macbeth on the big screen. Let me just begin by saying this film is stunning. Visually Dunsinane is like something straight from an Escher painting, a sense of being trapped in a labyrinth of light and shadows, giving all the more…

Breaking Out of the Box

Often when people hear my name in a professional capacity they immediately think about English teaching. Having spent 20 years teaching English, 14 as a head of Department, and now nearly two more with the title of English Specialist Lead that is understandable. However, rationally, or not, I can’t help but feel a little frustrated…

Raising My Glass

Well, here we are again. The end of another year which, I am sorry to say, has not gone the way we wanted. I don’t want to dwell too much on the negatives, but I do think that it is worth reflecting on the challenges, the successes, and the sheer brilliance of what you have…

Humility

My knowledge of some subjects is vast. I have a great deal of knowledge around a range of literature texts, theories, vocabulary and how we can develop writing. I have an undergraduate degree, a Master’s level degree at distinction and I am currently studying for another. I have a great deal of experience around this…

Building Knowledge

There has been a lot of talk recently in my social media interactions about interpretation of texts in the English classroom. Interpretation is an interesting thing as not only do we have elements of context, some of which are more or less clear depending on the text (for example, knowledge of historical periods and biographical…

Grandmothers Sucking Eggs or the Next Big Thing?

The Problems with TLAC A while ago I wrote blog explaining some of my concerns about Rosenshine’s Principles. The limitations of the research base aside, my concerns were based very much on what I was seeing happening in schools, not the principles themselves. Questioning, recapping, modelling, checking understanding and the other elements are without a…

Woven in the Fabric

Sometimes strands spend a long time seeking each other, fumbling without light, and interweave without knowing that it is exactly what the web wants. Emmi Itranta ‘Adds-ons’ have often the bane of my professional life. Let’s add on something about students’ social and emotional needs. Let’s add on something about careers. Let’s add on something…

Understanding Wellbeing

Wellbeing was a word which wasn’t really mentioned in schools until a few years ago. Workload was seen to be part of the expectation and burnt-out staff par for the course. During the era of ‘Every Child Matters’ I frequently recall colleagues asking when they got the matter, especially when demands seemed to be spiralling…