word consciousness

Three Pillars of Vocabulary Teaching

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that vocabulary knowledge is crucial for pupils’ school success. Pupils are language sponges, learning thousands of words each year. Like increases in a child’s height, it is a slow but inexorable development. On a daily basis it is near-imperceptible, but when you begin to count the passing of school …

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‘We Did Vocabulary Last Year’

“We did vocabulary last year.” I have the privilege to speak to lots of teachers and school leaders about vocabulary, accessing the school curriculum, along with the challenges of making a difference in helping develop the academic language of our pupils.  There is a natural trajectory I note, whereat schools recognise it is a challenge …

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Spelling: Avoiding Ignorance and Negligence

A version of this article was originally published in the excellent ‘Teach Secondary‘ magazine – you can subscribe HERE. It is well worth a read! Controversies and complaints about spelling are centuries old. In his Preface to ‘A Dictionary of the English Language’, in 1755, Samuel Johnson derided writers for their “ignorance or negligence”. Today, …

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GCSE English Language & Literature – Planning for Success

Every English teacher has a student like Natalie. Whether she is in year 7 or 11, she is a walking grade 9 waiting to happen. You can see it shine through everything she writes. The stark truth is that students like Natalie enact a self-fulfilling prophecy almost regardless of the quality of her English teachers. …

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Remembering Quotations – 10 Strategies

I don’t think there are many English teachers who haven’t asked the following question in the last year: ‘how do I help my class better remember quotations?’ It is an age-old question, but it is a very good one. It is not about producing unthinking parrots that squawk out quotations and exhibit little understanding of …

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