The glamour of grammar: in context or not?

2015-11-09T14:55:47+00:00February 13th, 2014|English, literacy|

It's something of an understatement to say that glamour and grammar are not usually closely associated in many people's minds. One of the 100 words David Crystal uses to tell The Story of English is ‘grammar’. It turns out that grammar and glamour come from the same root. Grammar originally meant the study of everything written but, as reading must have seemed like an almost magical skill to your average medieval peasant, grammar became synonymous with supernatural or occult knowledge. ‘Grammary’ came to mean magical or necromantic learning. And this leads us to ‘glamour’ which first meant a magical spell or enchantment and has since [...]

Principled curriculum design: the English curriculum

2014-07-29T21:27:26+01:00December 16th, 2013|English, Featured|

The tragedy of life is that one can only understand life backwards, but one must live it forwards Søren Kierkegaard Back in March 2013, I wrote about the principles underlying my redesign of a Keys Stage 3 English curriculum. It received a mixed response. Since then Joe Kirby and Alex Quigley have published their ideas on redesigning this area of the curriculum and have, in different ways, influenced my thinking. Recently, I've presented my ideas on the English curriculum to over 100 English teachers and the consensus seems to be that there is no consensus. Having thought quite a bit about [...]

Independence vs independent learning

2013-09-28T20:12:33+01:00June 20th, 2013|literacy, myths, Teaching sequence|

Last weekend #SLTchat was on fostering students' independence. As you'd expect, there were lots of great suggestions shared, as well as some not so great ideas. One comment I tweeted in response to the idea that to promote independence we should get students learning independently got quite a lot of feedback: This seemed to really divide opinion; some people got upset with me, and some others agreed enthusiastically. Having read Daisy Chistodoulou's fabulously well-researched, cogently argued and clearly expressed eBook Seven Myths About Education, my thoughts on teacher talk and independent learning have started to coalesce. On Tuesday this week I [...]

Testing & assessment – have we been doing the right things for the wrong reasons?

2013-06-16T18:01:29+01:00June 16th, 2013|assessment, Featured, learning, myths|

A curious peculiarity of our memory is that things are impressed better by active than by passive repetition. I mean that in learning (by heart, for example), when we almost know the piece, it pays better to wait and recollect by an effort from within, than to look at the book again. If we recover the words in the former way, we shall probably know them the next time; if in the latter way, we shall very likely need the book once more. William James, The principles of psychology (1890)   Never stop testing, and your advertising will never stop improving. David Ogilvy Tests are rubbish, right? Like [...]

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