The Essay: How To Help Students Get Better at Writing Essays

A couple of days ago I came across this incredibly interesting observation by Peter Stockwell, which immediately got me thinking about lots of things related to essay writing: If there is a canon of literary texts that move in and out of preference over time there is also a canon of acceptable critical discussion that... Continue Reading →

Readymade Scaffolding: Using the Oxford School Shakespeare Revision Workbooks

Recently, I’ve been playing around with and using a lot of OUP (Oxford University Press) Shakespeare materials and resources, which are proving to be excellent. In particular, I’ve been experimenting with their ‘Macbeth GCSE Revision Workbook’ by Graham Elsdon, which is part of the Oxford School Shakespeare series. I’ve been using this in the more... Continue Reading →

Using Description in Non Fiction Writing

We often see description as a separate kind of writing to non-fiction, a distinction enshrined in most GCSE specifications. Yet, one of the biggest upgrades I think we can make to student non-fiction writing is to encourage them to include elements of description. In my own teaching this translates to using a structure shape I... Continue Reading →

Defining Excellence: How I Use Whole Class Feedback

I first encountered whole class feedback several years ago and was instantly captivated. And what's not to love? It promises a significant reduction in workload, no longer spending countless hours huddled over a slow burning lamp with pen in hand (forgive the Dickensian rhetorical flourish) whilst simultaneously, even miraculously, improving student outcome. I remember the... Continue Reading →

A Model Response: GCSE Non-Fiction Writing

Mobile phones should be banned from the classroom as they are nothing but a distraction’. Write an article in which you persuade people of your point of view. Dialling 999: An Emergency in Education Imagine, if you will, a class of thirty students. Imagine you’re the teacher. It’s Monday, Period One and you’re trying to... Continue Reading →

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