Blog

Open the Window

“If the conditions are right, people grow in synergy with people around them and the environments they create.  If conditions are poor people protect themselves and their anxieties from neighbours and the world.”[1] During my 17 years of teaching I have asked students...

Free Writing for All

On more than one occasion I have had to justify bringing Free Writing into an English classroom. I have so much belief in, experience and evidence of the innumerable benefits of Free Writing in the classroom, that I have bent rules, wangled lesson plans and...

When learning stops

Inspiring learning quotes are useful, but a stark examination of when learning stops can help us release the blocks. Original article written for Always Possible. “We never stop learning;” “Never stop learning because life never stops teaching;” “Education is not...

The Motivating Assembly

Assemblies are powerful platforms.  However, often young people describe them as: boring, long and cringey. What's going wrong? Some ideas :  - powerpoint presentations                          - 'motivational' videos (usually in poor quality)                        ...

Pecha Kucha Evening – watch the video

"Adele's unique outlook on education and youths, challenges us to see children -our future- as a vast amount of knowledge and opportunity rather than burdens or misfits." Pecha Kucha Evening. De La Warr Pavilion, June 2018Watch the Video Here Click here to watch...

Locked in a classroom with 34 15-16 year olds

Recently, I got locked in a classroom with over 30 year 11s. To be completely accurate: the door handle fell off in my hand (sorry, couldn't find that image). To begin with there are a whole host of metaphors for education here, as thousands of students around the...

Love and Education

Love is not a word we often feel allowed to use in education. But it's there.  Of course it's there. As educators, we (usually at some point do or have) love our subject and many of us love our jobs - at least the teaching bit - hence why we chose to do this work.  ...

Getting to Know You*

Pupil: "Miss, what does patronising mean?" Me: "When you talk down to someone as if they're younger or inferior to you - in a bad way." Pupil: "Oh, you mean like you did in our first ever lesson together?" First impressions count, and clearly I still need to work on...

Menstruality and GCSE examinations

Once a month I noticed a year 11 student refused to engage in the lessons.  She would get her make-up out, back chat and appear lazy. For the other three weeks she generally tried hard. In the run up to her exams the time she spent distracted increased. Armed with...

Brex-sted Inspectors?

A recent conversation I had with a Secondary School student: Me: How are your English lessons going in school at the moment? Pupil: Oh, we're not having real English lessons, haven't for weeks. Me: Oh dear, why's that? Pupil: Because of Brexit....

Finding the solution vs. understanding the problem

Six weeks before the first round of the new GCSE syllabus I received an email from senior management informing me that there would be 'Exam Intervention Support' for a pupil in my class who had been predicted to fail. In fact they were predicted to fail every one of...

Safety First (Learning Second)

I have taught in various guises for 17 years. I have mentored trainee teachers, taught PGCE students at University and written articles on teaching. But it is only in the last 2-3 years I have been able to reflect and articulate the first step to my teaching approach....

Conversations on Empathy: Interviewed by Thoughtbox Education

Since I started talking about my Future School project, I've had an increasing number of interested and experienced people getting in contact. Thank you. Keep coming! One of those people is Rachel Musson, from Thoughtbox Education who invited me to become a Thoughtbox...

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