Why can’t my students write good stories?

You’d think teaching the creative writing component of the GCSE English exam would be the most rewarding aspect of the specification. It’s the chance to delight in the beauty of language and get students to let their imaginations run wild. It’s really not, though.  In all the different incarnations of the syllabus I’ve taught, I’veContinue reading “Why can’t my students write good stories?”

99 stories – the power of retelling

Have I got a great story for you: A male narrator on a crowded bus witnesses a disagreement between a man with a long neck and a funny hat and a fellow passenger. The narrator then sees the same man a couple of hours later, this time getting some advice from a friend on howContinue reading “99 stories – the power of retelling”

We Murder to Dissect – How to Approach a Poem Without Killing It

I don’t know whether it’s a by-product of the way we teachpoetry – where there’s always so much to do and so little time – or whether it ‘twas ever thus. Either way, many students seem to approach poetry like they are trying to solve a puzzle. To them, a poem is more like aContinue reading “We Murder to Dissect – How to Approach a Poem Without Killing It”

The race to the bottom is still very much on!

Like you, I get lots of emails every day. I’ve not yet figured out – or rather not bothered to figure out – how to turn off the automatic alert. As a consequence, I frequently get interrupted at work. Earlier this week, an email popped up with the subject Quotation Bank in it. Mildly intriguedContinue reading “The race to the bottom is still very much on!”

Quietly confident (thanks to the new A levels!)

  Next week my year 13 class sit their first literature exam – two short analytical essays on Hamlet, and a comparison of A Doll’s House and Christina Rossetti poetry. For the first time in long while – perhaps ever – I have not run any one to one sessions or taught any additional afterContinue reading “Quietly confident (thanks to the new A levels!)”