Search results for "whitwham"


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At the chalkface: Where language goes to die

1 July 2019

This once prince of subjects has been eviscerated. Creativity and critical thinking have been junked. Language is rarely subjected to ferocious and forensic examination. At what cost?

At the chalkface: ‘Go on sir, tell us a story!’

8 May 2019

Story-telling is just about the most important thing you can ever do in English. It cuts across class, language, culture and even literacy. Children always want to hear (or tell) a good story. They ...

At the chalkface: Certainties are toxic

20 March 2019

At first I took them on. Have you even read it? Why should we do what God says? When is obedience a good idea? Certainties are toxic. Complexities aren’t. We need doubt, we need humour. You burn ...

At the chalkface: Talking proper

13 March 2019

For girls it was marginally worse. Those with pushy parents went to something called a Lucy Clayton Finishing School. There they got finished. They practised enunciating “how now brown cow” with a ...

At the chalkface: A funny tinge

6 March 2019

He cites such things as “meaningless words”, “verbal false limbs”, “dying metaphors”, “exhausted idioms” and the sheer “lying”, consciously or not, of so much political speech

At the chalkface: Strike!

27 February 2019

The Cuban Missile Crisis. October 1962. We protested and refused to kick off in case the world was blown to smithereens. It wasn’t. Our protest might have been decisive.

At the chalkface: A Spell against Barbarism

6 February 2019

Like all grand daughters, she is raving genius. Like all four-year-olds she is a poet. It can’t be stopped. I hope it doesn’t get stopped when she starts school, that it’s not blocked by the dread ...

At the chalkface: How dare they…

30 January 2019

“I want everyone to see us as a force for improvement,” says Amanda Spielman. Hurrah! Though careful with the language, please, less of the “force”...

At the chalkface: Every lesson shapes a life

9 January 2019

Have you seen the new one? It’s called “Every Lesson Shapes a Life”. It’s slick, nicely cut and seductive. A girl walks down a cunningly lit school corridor passing through the various stages of her ...

At the chalkface: The Oxbridge fetish

5 December 2018

I was at Oxford – whoops, there we go! Shut up! In 1452. It was all a bit fusty and disorientating. The unchecked privilege, dodgy heritage culture, casual sexism, gender blindness and whopping class ...

At the chalkface: A game of their own

28 November 2018

Give girls the choice to participate in the beautiful game. Like my four-year-old granddaughter does now. She’s already two-footed and executed a rather cheeky Cruyff turn on me the other day.

At the chalkface: Just ask a teacher

21 November 2018

We know these things. The problem has always been the powers that be don’t pay us attention. They “consult”. They construct a face, which doesn’t listen, and generally do zilch

At the chalkace: Any classroom, any time

14 November 2018

“Billy Boy” Byron lives in a caravan under Westway. His drunken father hits him a lot. The teacher wants to like him, but cannot. He wishes he was only absent. So does Billy Boy.

At the chalkface: Wellbeing

7 November 2018

The prime minister is on the case. Children from the age of four will be given an annual “wellbeing test”. By whom? You, of course. You’ll be trained up and rolled out and on stream by 2020.

At the chalkface: The lesson wrecker...

17 October 2018

Ah, but something is waiting out there, something lurks in the inner city air. This is their season. They flourish about now. Before them, all pedagogy is as nought, all teachers impotent. What can ...

At the chalkface: A pork pie and shandy

10 October 2018

He gets a rush hour bus. The road is a snarl up. He gives up, jumps off and races through the park, just in time to be late for school and the Breakfast Club. He gets a bollocking from Ms Strict.

At the chalkface: One in five

19 September 2018

If pupils are too poor or “challenging” they’re somehow chucked out. It’s all the go. You don’t want to screw up those league tables. So “poorer” children must be excluded...

At the chalkface: Speechifying

12 September 2018

"Altitude is attitude,” she says cryptically. Or is it vice-versa? Are we back with the angels? Who knows? The poor pupils are bamboozled.

At the chalkface: A fellowship of good cheer

5 September 2018

Here’s my top survival tip for the new year. Give this stuff no attention. Junk it completely. Make your classroom immune from it. Cultivate a siege mentality...

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