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Reflections and articles around teaching and learning.

Some Fun with Shakespeare

Some Fun with Shakespeare

As we approach, once again, the day of Shakespeare’s birth and death, the faithful among us, (some would say nerds) start revisiting the Bard’s canon and the enormity of his influence.  This is a serious, and at the same time not serious, undertaking. There is much...

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I never quite got podcasts – until we started one

I never quite got podcasts – until we started one

I never quite got podcasts It is probably partly because of my ADHD, but I couldn’t see the point. People listened while driving, running and shopping to name only a few activities. When I am driving I am listening to music. It is background noise and doesn’t require...

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Post Covid:  Teachers – 10   Pollies – Nil

Post Covid: Teachers – 10 Pollies – Nil

There have been innumerable conversations about the effect of the covid pandemic on education. Many of these conversations have been valuable. However, the most valuable conversation, about what teachers can and will do, is not being had.  In essence the...

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What Do We Want to Take Forward?

What Do We Want to Take Forward?

Today, in most states of Australia, a number of our youngest students are heading back to school following a very long break. Many students, teachers and parents will be feeling a combination of excitement and anxiety.  Most of us are dealing with the critical...

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Angry All Over Again

Angry All Over Again

I am angry again and my heart is breaking.  The response to the article I published on Friday was encouraging. I was pleased that I had been able to speak on behalf of teachers.This morning I sat to answer the emails we had received. Responses were overwhelmingly...

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‘Soft Skills’ need a better PR Agent.

‘Soft Skills’ need a better PR Agent.

It is 3 years since I made my geriatric foray into the wonderful world of EdTech.  Ok, maybe I am exaggerating the geriatric bit, but not much. As a woman in her 60s I often find myself as the oldest person in the room and often the room shows surprise at my...

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In Defence of Speaking

In Defence of Speaking

Just as literacy is fluency in reading and writing oracy is fluency in speaking and listening. The ability to convey thoughts and ideas orally in a way that others understand and to understand what others say.

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Understanding Film Soundtracks

Understanding Film Soundtracks

There are at least three standard tracks in any film soundtrack. Dialogue Music Effects Dialogue The dialogue is the backbone of the story. If the writing is not good or the dialogue is not delivered well it really doesn’t matter what else is good. There has...

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The Value of Storyboards in the English classroom

The Value of Storyboards in the English classroom

It Began with Disney. In the early 1930s, when Disney was at the height of its creativity in cartoon animation, it was common practice for the artists working at the studio to pin their rough sketches onto bulletin boards. They would do this in order to visually...

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Why are Archetypes Important in Film?

Why are Archetypes Important in Film?

An archetype is an original model of something, what we may call a prototype. According to television producer Aaron Spelling there are only 5 stories and they have all been told. The job of the modern producer or filmmaker is to find new ways of telling them. These 5...

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How Much of What We See Is Real?

How Much of What We See Is Real?

This post is a little shorter than the last ones have been, but the subject matter is critical to teaching film in our classrooms. It is important to remember that our students have never lived in a world without television and film. For them the visual mediums are...

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A Confession, an Apology and Bright Shiny Objects

A Confession, an Apology and Bright Shiny Objects

Bright Shiny Objects (BSO):  Any new, interesting, intriguing, colourful idea, strategy or possibility. Designed to excite, stimulate, side-track, deviate and beguile. Guaranteed to deflect focus. Confession Long before it was diagnosed many of my students labelled me...

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What my Naughty Dog taught me about Students.

What my Naughty Dog taught me about Students.

I have a very naughty dog. He was adopted from the SPCA in Singapore when I was teaching there and was about 2 years old at the time. For the first few days he was quite tentative and unsure of me, but that did not last long. By the end of the first week he would race...

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For Teachers -The Times They Are A Changin.

For Teachers -The Times They Are A Changin.

Why teachers didn’t get a mention in Bob Dylan’s 1964 hit song is a mystery to me. Writers, parents and politicians are mentioned and of course they are important, but surely great teachers are significant instruments of change. That teaching as a profession has...

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Why Do Passionate People Teach?

Why Do Passionate People Teach?

Reasons People choose to Teach. There are a stack of different reasons why people go into teaching, especially teaching English. Between 1950 and 1978 in Australia, Secondary Teaching was one of the few things you could get government funding for to go to University....

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Why Teach English?

Why Teach English?

Why I teach English The second greatest surprise of my life came when I realised that I loved teaching teenagers. Seriously, I was 35 years old and had spent the previous 20 years actively avoiding it. Where I grew up teaching and nursing were the only two options for...

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Where Are They Now?

Where Are They Now?

One of my earliest Facebook memories was receiving a friend request from a past student. A wonderful message followed thanking me for being the teacher I was. I won’t brag and go into details, but we don’t get this feedback often and when it comes it is treasured. It...

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Why Burnout is not the End.

Why Burnout is not the End.

Day 4 of the challenge and we are asked to write a story post. Stories are the lifeblood of English teachers so there was not a shortage of possibilities. Once again I was tempted to take the easy road and talk about one of the many magic moments that I experienced...

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Sharing is Easier with Chrome.

Sharing is Easier with Chrome.

Here I am again. This 3rd post in the challenge is to be a review post. What to review posed a challenge in itself. My first thought was to review school based PD offerings but that needs a much fuller treatment than I can do today. I have been reading and researching...

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4 Essential Activities for an English Teacher.

4 Essential Activities for an English Teacher.

No matter how much information we have sometimes it is hard to get into a good writing routine. So this week I am taking the plunge and have signed up for a 7 day blogging challenge. Darren Rouse over at ProBlogger is running this. I like Darren, he is an Aussie guy...

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