Experiences of an EAL student in the 70s and 80s

A small disclaimer before you read on. This post is rather a personal one, where I follow a meandering journey into how I learned to speak English. Christmas always means another birthday for me. This year I turned 47, which means it was forty years ago that I first arrived in the UK, not speaking […]

The importance of reading and writing

Today finds me in a pensive frame of mind. In quick succession, questions such as “What am I doing?”, “Where am I heading?” and “What do I know really?” bombard me with self-doubt. In part, this is because I’ve got the flu, and nothing drags you down quite as much as feeling unwell. And also, […]

End-of-year reflections

As we approach the end of 2017, it is normal to reflect on the year gone past, and what a year it’s been for me. There have been milestones and setbacks along the way, but more importantly, an enormous amount of learning. One of the setbacks is that my teacher training journey has come to […]

In defence of the narrative in history

Jane Austen once famously said about the main character of her novel ‘Emma’, that ‘she is a character who no-one but myself will much like’. I find myself thinking similar thoughts about the book I’m currently writing. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a book that no-one but myself will much like (or read), but […]

It’s not looking good

Maybe it’s to do with the wintry season we’re in, but I’m increasingly pessimistic about education in this country. The optimism I felt last year on entering the teaching profession, buoyed by the interesting ideas in books and blogs I was reading, has faded away. I thought there was a wave of common sense making […]

Howard Goodall: a great explainer

Having read Adam Boxer and Ben Newmark‘s recent blogs about the great explainers, one other example immediately came to mind and I just wanted to write a quick blog about it. In his fantastic series of TV programmes called ‘How music works’, Howard Goodall explains how music is constructed, developed and why particular melodies evoke […]

What I’ve learned so far about teaching

August has raced along, packed with family adventures and relaxed, lazy days at home. In its wake comes September, the most bittersweet month of the year. Already the days are growing shorter and the leaves are falling off the trees. We collected our first lot of (very young) conkers today. Of course, along with a […]

What does studying history teach us?

I read an interesting article by Mark Bailey in the Times today, kindly shared on this tweet. In it I learned that history has superseded PPE as the most commonly held degree among the nation’s MPs – 15% of all parliamentarians and 10% of the Cabinet are trained historians. Not only this but several high […]

What is history?

I read this recent article by Richard McFahn with interest as it touches on an issue I’ve been grappling with and trying to find a convincing answer to. What is history? What is our purpose when we teach history to our children at school? I have already attempted to discuss this in a previous post, […]

Should new teachers read lots of books and blogs?

I was pulled up short by this Tweet yesterday. Needless to say, I disagree with the sentiment. I can only go by my own experience here, but reading books and blogs have exposed me to so many ideas and made me think more deeply about what education, and particularly history teaching, should be about. If […]