I’m not sure how other schools choose to teach the GCSE English Language skills but I have chosen to teach the skills through a text which is separate from the GCSE English Literature syllabus. As a new teacher, and therefore one who doesn’t have a wealth of resources from previous texts on the GCSE, I chose SMART by Kim Slater.
The language in the book is accessible for KS4 and it is in a similar vain to The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. It’s also set in Nottingham which is great because a lot of the pupils I teach can relate to the locations mentioned or local ‘in-jokes’. As part of this, we taught the skills for Paper 1 alongside reading the text.
The students really loved the story and it got them interested in reading! These were students that weren’t going to go out and buy books at the weekend but lo and behold…several of them went and bought SMART as well as some of Kim Slater’s other books. What more could you ask for as an English teacher?
To complement the work we were doing in class and reinforce their understanding of Paper 1, I created some bookmarks that had a breakdown of each question on the paper as well as a bumper list of ‘writers’ methods’ to refer to.
I simply printed them on regular paper, folded them over and laminated them for durability. Students said that they were really helpful and they referred to the ‘writers’ methods’ list when completing class work.
As part of my first post on this site, I thought I would look back on the very thing that inspired me so much throughout my training year…eduTwitter/edu-Twitter/twitterED. Whatever you want to call it, it has been an absolute lifeline for me prior to observations, final assessments or just when I felt like I was on the verge of tears at school. This virtual staffroom is amazing and is filled with a rich variety of teachers from a range of backgrounds; levels of experience; and personal philosophies.
1. It ain’t all bad.
When you are at your wits end because Year 9 top set are still somehow forgetting the difference between a metaphor and simile and you question whether or not you have the capability to teach and whether or not you can bare to see them in the morning again…edu-twitter makes me see the light in these dark moments (metaphorically speaking. Take note, Year 9). As someone who moved straight into teacher training after university, a lot of my friends just don’t understand the stresses and strains of teaching training. Therefore, edu-twitter has been a source of great comfort. Especially after talking to more experienced colleagues!
2. Sharing is caring.
I am lucky enough to work in an incredible department within a great school where colleagues share resources all the time. I realise that this isn’t always the case for others, especially as student teachers! However, edu-twitter constantly blows me away. There have been, possibly one too many, occasions when I have put out a tweet to @Team_English1 in pure desperation and received several tweets back with links to dropboxes full of PowerPoints, PDFs, lesson plans, worksheets, notes, images etc.
3. You won’t all agree.
The great emoji debate; the legitimacy of growth mindset; workload management vs. being overworked. Just a few of the topics that have been fiercely debated on edu-twitter in the recent months. I find the community to be, on the whole, very respectful and encourage debate. However, there is a small minority that turn it into a school playground and I feel the pang of an expletive in my throat which mimics a feeling that I had when I had to break up my first fight in the yard as a trainee.
If you haven’t already, get yourself on Twitter. You (probably) won’t regret it.