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…

The GCSE Draft Specifications – Some First Impressions from The English and Media Centre

As you will know by now, GCSE specifications will change next year, for first teaching in September 2015. The English and Media Centre will be running courses in the autumn term to support you in choosing a specification (further information at the bottom of the page), as well as publishing resources. In the meantime, in…

5 Revision Strategies for KS4

With Easter looming, we thought this might be a good moment to offer you some revision activities. These all require minimal preparation from you and can be adapted to almost any aspect of the exam. Perfect! 1. Team paragraphs Good for: improving writing under pressure, meta-level discussion about paragraph structure; thinking like an examiner. Students…

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.…

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…