The Value of Storyboards in the English classroom

English teachers teaching film

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 structure the storyline and provide a visual framework for the animators and production team. Because there were so many artists working on each project it was the … Read More

Why are Archetypes Important in Film?

English teachers teaching 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 stories are: Whichever system you follow it is universally accepted that most texts are re-workings of stories that have been told … Read More

Why Do Passionate People Teach?

Passionate English teachers

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. It was competitive. You sat for the studentship exam and if you scored well enough the government paid for your studies. In exchange you agreed to teach for three years  in government … Read More

Why Teach English?

Teaching Literature

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 clever, nice girls and I was determined not to be one of them. I didn’t have any clear idea of what I wanted to do … Read More

Please – No More Chapter Questions!

Keep English interesting.

Nothing is more surely designed to drown any flickering student interest in a book than chapter questions. Honestly, if there is a good reason why we still do this it is beyond my comprehension. And this is the point isn’t it?  Comprehension. I have always loved to read, and it is no secret that English was my favourite subject at school.  Not much has changed really. I still love to … Read More

The Reasons I hate Book-Hire Schemes for English

No more Book Hire Please.

When it comes to text books for many subjects, hire-book schemes can be really helpful. Many of these books are expensive to buy and as they are used year after year it makes sense to ensure that all students have access. However I think they are deadly for English classes. Here are some of the reasons. Good English teachers do not teach from ‘text-books’ as such. They teach from texts. … Read More