Wednesday, 28 May 2014
Wednesday, 14 May 2014
It is with great sadness that I share the news with you that Jerry, as in Tom and Jerry, has passed away.
I am a teacher of English, but I am also a teacher of Maths, a teacher of Science, a teacher of History, a teacher of RE, a teacher of Geography and a teacher of any other subjects that is not taught in our narrow curriculum. It is hard to be described as just an English teacher, as when I pick a book, I might teach a historical element, a thing about the geography of a place, or the scientific principle underlying the key ideas of the novel. One of the common arguments about the new focus on ‘Literacy Across the Curriculum’ is that other some (not most) subject teachers think this should be the sole responsibility of the English teachers. If that was the case, then every time a student asks me about the setting of a book I’d simply direct them to the relevant teacher. I’d have a mental gagging order. I would then focus only on my subject. Sir, where shall I put the title? Sorry, I cannot help you as that question relies heavily on your geography skills. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen. I teach whatever I have to develop and help students understand. I teach full stop.
English / Drama teacher
Dry sense of humour
Father of a disabled child
Lover of books
When you're sure you've had enough of this life, well hang on
Don't let yourself go, 'cause everybody cries and everybody hurts sometimes’.
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/floriandebruen/5812287472/">Florian de Brün</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">cc</a>
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/maggyver/7348662/">Softly Lit Studios</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryan_orr/482637288/">Ryan Orr</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">cc</a>
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/babys_in_black/5604257020/">Baby's In Black</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">cc</a>
Saturday, 10 May 2014
Do we use enough formulae in our writing? As English teachers, we search for patterns and connections in texts, yet do we teach linguistic patterns in our writing? Do we teach patterns enough in lessons? Or do we spend most of our time teaching techniques and features of writing?
I remember my interview for my PGCE and in the interview I raised the issue of using mathematical approaches to writing. I was aghast at such an idea, but like most things in teaching, after time and a few gins I am starting to see that maybe, on some level, it has some legs.
Last year, I did some Inset on report writing. It wasn’t that the report writing in the school was bad; it was just that there wasn’t any consistency in style. The style of the report varied from person to person and subject to subject. We needed a formula to help people structure their writing. To help them with making the style of their writing consistent.
The formula was:
Name - he /she – his/her – name
Now, it wasn’t an epiphany moment. It wasn’t really ground breaking. It was, instead, a pattern to adhere to, and people did. Their sentences followed the pattern. The rhythm that we had set.
You have probably have never voted before. We have heard so much about politicians and their claiming of expenses. Some even think they have a right to steal from the taxpayer. Our hard-earned money is being wasted to fund a politician’s birdbath.
Present / Past / Future – The clock ticks. The battery was replaced yesterday. Maybe he will replace it with a new, digital one tomorrow.
Sight / sound / touch – Sprinkles of light floated in and out of the shafts of sunlight. The slow creaking of wooded floorboards hid the rumble of traffic outside. The smooth boards were smothered with a thin carapace of dust and dirt.
Thanks for reading,
P.S. Although this blog isn't really linked to 'Writing Tools' by Roy Peter Clark, I'd like to acknowledge that Clark's book has made me reflect on writing more than anything I have read in the last ten years.
Friday, 2 May 2014