English and the Law of Unintended Consequences

English and Media Centre co-director, Andrew McCallum, warns against responses to recent curriculum and GCSE changes that potentially risk limiting students’ experience of English at secondary level. The law of unintended consequences finds rich pickings in education, nowhere more so than in teaching English to 11-16 year olds. Policies and initiatives introduced with good intentions…

Blogging about English: some areas for debate

Barbara Bleiman, Co-director at The English and Media Centre, considers interesting areas for debate about English as a subject The blogosphere and twittersphere are both full of impassioned arguments and discussions around education, many of them sustained by English teachers or Headteachers with a background in English teaching. English teachers have always been at the forefront…

Knowledge about Literature at KS3 – What’s significant knowledge? What role is there for ‘facts’?

Starting with a look at ‘knowledge’ in relation to Great Expectations, Barbara Bleiman, co-director at The English and Media Centre, explores the debates around knowledge versus skills. Great Expectations 1. Dickens was writing in the 19th century. 2. Pip’s sister was called Mrs Joe Gargery. 3. Dickens wrote his novels in instalments as weekly serials.…

60 Great Books for Reluctant Readers at KS3

Kate Oliver, consultant at The English and Media Centre, suggests books for reluctant readers of all abilities Most teachers, especially English teachers, are passionate about promoting reading, and would support the current emphasis on reading for pleasure, its inclusion in the National Curriculum from 2014, and the fact that it is a focus for Ofsted…

Would you ban slang?

Kate Oliver, EMC’s  KS3&4 consultant, discusses whether schools should ban slang in the classroom. A school in London has recently banned slang from the classroom. Signs have been put up listing banned words, such as ‘coz’ and ‘bare’. The aims are worthy. London MP David Lammy said: ‘I think this is a very good idea. Speaking slang is fine in…

Digital disappearances, missing multimodals: keeping media alive in the new English curriculum

 Jenny Grahame, EMC’s media consultant and editor of MediaMagazine, explains why media will always have a place in dynamic English teaching, whatever the constraints of the National Curriculum. Terminology is a funny phenomenon.  It comes and goes in and out of fashion; education battles have been fought and won over the correct or most timely…

Is ‘What works?’ the only question educational research should be trying to answer?

Barbara Bleiman is Co-director at The English and Media Centre We have entered a new phase in education, the ‘Research-led Education Phase’. In principle that’s an excellent thing. Drifting along doing things in classrooms without considering their impact is not a good way of making sure that pupils get the most out of their education. The…