As I begin a new job I am inclined to reflect on some of the ways I think my practice has got better over the past four years.

  1. Planning curriculums in 6-week rhythms. I remember speaking to a teacher about the issues of filling time… I also remember much larger schemes of work in previous posts. It is possible to combine different pedagogies in that time as well. Something written in class in that time that requires response is also ideal.
  2. Regular assessments that frame what is coming up. Knowing that there is something public to aim for is useful. Massive end of year tests have issues.
  3. Regular essay writing from a young age, or at least paragraph writing. Even writing terrible letters or similar is better than none. Understanding the speed of writing, and of planning, and of public performance and redrafting – these are important things. The writing of pupils is necessarily naive and occasionally disheartening.
  4. Excellent PowerPoint visuals; my PowerPoints are very good. Whilst PowerPoints provide issues, they do frame lectures well. They can also provide an effective route through content, especially if used with OneNote.
  5. Decisive choices of what do ahead. The nature of literature teaching is that it can be quite problematic. It is can be necessarily fuzzy. I have seen some of the benefits of decisiveness in planning. However, I have also seen some of its downfalls (see the issues of writing in my parallel posts elsewhere). Ultimately, decisiveness of content, and sharing content in advance via booklets and ICT is desirable. A flexibility and responsiveness of pedagogy and approach still seems ideal. But the days of planning content and tasks on a Sunday evening have happily gone!
  6. The notion that lessons can be planned as series and chunks in advance. Following on from above, it is apparent that lessons based upon particular content (e.g. poems) can be divided up between particular teachers
  7. A culture of booklets has been great. As before, I used to print resources ahead of time. In fact, in my first school students had to share printing. I used to wake up for 6:20am in order to get in before 7am so my printing could be done.
  8. Use of OneNote and PowerPoints etc. Sharing my materials with students ahead of time has been revolutionary. It means that we have an ideal match between teacher-led and student-led. So many materials can be shared. It makes my life as a teacher much easier, but still ensures that students are working hard and working well.
  9. Visualisation culture (well! Hardly…). The visualiser is great for modelling. It is not even a technology but something essential.
  10. Culture of lectures at KS4 and KS5. There is a difference between a student and a pupil. Hearing a lecture is magical – it prepares students etc. There is an element of this. Situated and specific content is superior.
  11. There has been useful emphasis on identifying some sentence types and literary techniques in language and literature. I have never been in a place where there has been such an overt emphasis on identifying techniques. However, it can be impressive and useful. I have written about the issues of close-reading vs reader response here and here… Also, some language techniques are so common as to be almost bunk (the pre-modifying aspect of pre-modifying adjective exists in 98 per cent of cases, whereas complex declaratives also make up the dominant number of sentences).
  12. An organised and centralised revision programme. Teachers planning revision for specific topics seems much better. There have been days where I went in over Easter. Since taking charge of our KS5 exam curriculum, I am much more interested in the work the students have done over a period of time. Don’t get me wrong – I know there were issues in Beijing with too many students flying out for minor sporting events before exams.
  13. Attempt to centralise technology and other CPD foci was also admirable. Technology implementation has been fuzzy at best. CPD as a menu of choice is a pleasing idea… you sign up for what you want.
  14. Week-ahead emails that aid consideration of what is to be done. I have both sent a received emails at the end of a weekend that look at the week ahead. This has been ideal. While speaking to people is superior, without any doubt, being able to consider what you are doing is…
  15. Report writing that is streamlined and therefore easier to write; data collation that is centralised and therefore easier for time