English teaching

Macbeth: Prose Retelling

To a certain extent it’s difficult to read a Shakespeare text with a class in the same way that you’d read anything else. The archaic and rich language can confound children even if they watch a live performance or film version. I’ve found that students approach the text if time…

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Knowledge Agenda for Macbeth

In my preparations for teaching Macbeth again I’ve collected a number of knowledge organisers created by teachers working in different school contexts in the UK. There are commonalities: they name characters, identify similar themes, list a handful of quotes to learn and offer some vocabulary to learn. All provide a…

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Introduction to English and Its Teachers

Notes from English and Its Teachers by Simon Gibbons (2017) Chapter 1 – Introduction Simon Gibbons presents the purposes, rationale and scope for this study of the development of secondary school English teaching from the mid-1960s to the present. He defines three periods during this time but agrees that the…

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Introducing Macbeth

The first few lessons on a text – particularly Shakespeare – are crucial. Nowadays the standard modus operandi at GCSE is to start with assessment objectives, pages of (often irrelevant and subsequently forgotten) contextual information and lists of vocabulary or technical terms. Often knowledge organisers are given out before anything…

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A Long, Long Time Ago…

Sorting through old school resources, I found this project from 1997. I was in my second year of teaching and still have memories of making this booklet as a media mini-project for Year Seven. The scan of the booklet shows the way in which it was constructed back in the…

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Practical Planning for Teaching Macbeth

In September I begin teaching Macbeth to two Year 11 groups. I’m starting at a new school, I’ve not met the students before and have to consider the practicalities of teaching in a post-Lockdown, Covid-safe environment. Over Lockdown and the Summer I’ve had the opportunity to read and reflect on…

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