We Are All Charlie Chaplin

This is the unedited text of my article in today’s TES Scotland   There’s a famous scene in Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Modern Times’ where the poor hero is desperately trying to keep up with the conveyor belt of screws to tighten … Continue Reading →

I was wrong about Maffs…

I’ve probably always been uncomfortable with the premise that some subjects are described as knowledge-based and some skills-based. As an English teacher I know I’ve said this at times. ‘English is more skills based therefore we are different to Maths … Continue Reading →

Never Give Up on a Good Thing

Why encouraging reluctant readers Is our responsibility I’ve written about Tom before. He’s that kid in your class who, no matter what, never seems to get reading, never seems to be comfortable with reading a book. There are thousands like … Continue Reading →

The More You Ignore Me, The Closer I Get

Even after fifteen years in the classroom, the thing that causes me most grief, the thing that results in more sleepless nights than anything else is behaviour management. It’s the thing that new teachers ask most about and struggle with … Continue Reading →

Caring About Every Writer – the weaker ones need us most

Without a doubt the greatest discovery I’ve made in the last year or two is that feedback through the marking of written work is the most effective teaching tool I have. The connections that I’ve made with students, their awareness … Continue Reading →

Work Hard, Be Nice. Whatever Happens.

  I’ve thought long and hard about whether I’d write anything about this week’s referendum vote but decided, as much to clarify my own thoughts as anything else, that I would. We’ve been asked – correctly I think – not … Continue Reading →

Unlocking the World of Reading

  The library in our school is an amazing place. It has huge windows from floor to ceiling, welcoming light and space for classes to spread out and read. There is a study corner with computers; another corner with study … Continue Reading →

The Worst Paperboy Ever

  Nothing to do with teaching this one, but here you go. It is a struggle to delve back and remember this but in another life I was the worst paper boy the world has ever known. I came to … Continue Reading →

Building Up to a Comprehensive Guide

  On a bookshelf, at the bottom of one of my bookcases, I have a three volume collection called ‘Football Handbook’. It’s not a particularly attractive set: green laminate plastic with ‘Football Handbook’ garishly splashed down the spines – but … Continue Reading →

Reading and the Strange Comfort of Repetition

  There is something strangely comforting about repetition. I write that while sitting in a house we’ve rented every summer for the last three years. I look out at the same view every morning. Nothing about the place changes. The chairs, … Continue Reading →

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