Category Archives: English

Comparison is easy

The basis for poetry and scientific discovery is the ability to comprehend the unlike in the like and the like in the unlike. Jacob Bronowski Judging the quality of a thing in

Essay writing: style and substance

You have such strong words at command, that they make the smallest argument seem formidable. George Eliot As with most subjects, the step up from GCSE to A level English literature is

researchED English & Literacy Conference

A few months ago I asked Tom Bennett if he’d be up for rubberstamping some sort of rEDx project (like TEDx but with brains) devoted to exploring the intersection between education research

Using Threshold Concepts to design a KS4 English curriculum

The big change a-coming for curriculum design is that the final vestiges of modularity will soon have been licked clean from the assessment spoon; from September it will linearity all the way. Many

How can we increase breadth and challenge?

Over the past few days as sorry tale has unfolded. The new GCSE English literature specifications have been announced in draft form, full of sound and fury, signifying… nothing. The current GCSE

Wanna play fantasy GCSE Literature specifications?

The exam boards have played their hands and they’re relying on jokers rather than aces. GCSE English literature is a race to the bottom: with the overwhelming concern seemingly being how to retain schools’ business

Who’s to blame for the new English literature GCSEs?

The sound and fury surrounding text choices for GCSE English literature just won’t go away. The exam boards got their digs in first with Paul Dodd of OCR claiming Gove wanted to

Whose English literature is it anyway?

Have you heard? Education Secretary, Michael Gove has personally intervened to ban the only books worth teaching in the entire canon of English literature. Twentieth century American classics like To Kill A

Does it do what it’s supposed to? Assessing the assessment

In response to a request for constructive criticism of the English assessment model I helped design, Michael Tidd got in touch to query whether it met his 7 questions you should ask about

One step beyond – assessing what we value

Hey you, don’t teach that. Teach this! Do we always teach what we value? it seems to me that when push comes to shove, we end up teaching what is assessed. The urgency

The glamour of grammar: in context or not?

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

Is there a way to avoid teaching rubbish in English?

I’ve had an idea! For a while now I’ve been increasingly disgusted at the way English language has been dumbed down as a GCSE subject. Really, what is the point of asking