Bright Enough

Words – so innocent and powerless as they are, as standing in a dictionary, how potent for good and evil they become in the hands of one who knows how to combine them. Nathanial Hawthorn As an English teacher I have long been hyper aware of the language we use. I have spent hours each…

The Language is the Art

Why I think it is important to teach complex texts Over the years I have been party to a number of conversations, both in school and on social media, as to the nature of English in schools. It is without a doubt a bit of a confused hotchpotch, pulled in various directions by policy makers…

Getting the Best View: Scaffolds or Differentiation?

I can recall about eight years ago before an observation being asked what differentiation the observer would see in my classroom. I quickly responded with ‘if I am doing it well, you won’t.’ I don’t think this was the answer the would-be observer really wanted but they made a note and readied themselves to return,…

Doing the Difficult

This post is a response to an interesting tweet and accompanying post by chemistry teacher Adam Boxer. In his post Shifting lines: does everything work somewhere, Boxer presents a compelling argument that it is not enough to say that a policy or intervention should be adopted simple because, if done well, it will work. Instead…

Teaching: Fun and games

I enjoyed a discussion yesterday following on from this post from Tom Rogers and Mr Hodges. As is so often the case, when you start talking about something you realise you agree far more than you disagree but it still got me thinking about different understandings of “fun” in the classroom. When I began teaching,…

Remote Learning: Impossible Desires

In Teach Like Nobody’s Watching I argued that the process of teaching something, when you strip it back, is remarkably simple. If you watch anyone from children to experienced professionals teach you see the same things: recap of what you think they already know, give them some new information or instruction, get them to try…

Well done, this has nothing to do with you

Last week, in the run up to the release of the GCSE examination results, myself and Zoe (@greeborunner) wrote a piece for TES debating whether good teachers might get poor exam results. It was an odd thing to debate as fundamentally we agree that it is a nonsense to hold teachers accountable for their results,…

Building Resilience

“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving, we get stronger and more resilient.”  ― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free In her latest post, Zoe Enser (@GreeboRunner) explores what we can learn about resilience in the classroom from running. If you speak to anyone who knows me you will learn that I have three main…

Supporting Working Memory in the English Classroom

In her latest post Zoe Enser, @GreeboRunner, considers what we can do to teach in a way that supports a child’s working memory. Those of you who know me professionally will know that research, especially in relation to the workings of the memory and cognitive science, is something which gets me really excited. It will…