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How I Teach English


I believe that English should be taught in as lively a way as possible; it is our means of communication and expression, chock-full of present and past experiences, as well as playing host to the thoughts and ideas of novelists, poets and playwrights. It deserves to be treated with care and respect, vigour and vitality.

In terms of its content, English is not like any other academic subject: Geography has its maps and facts and plenty more; History its treaties and its wars. Conversely, the ‘content’ of literature, of a novel or a poem, is feeling and ideas, intellect and emotion; and yes, novels have their form and dialogue and narrative, and poems their form and metre, but these are language structures which need to be taught as something ‘live’ and interconnected with the beauty and intention of the prose or poem.

As for the technicalities of language, its grammar, punctuation and spelling, these are crucial. Without this ‘underpinning’ of language usage, the world is a difficult place in which to express oneself and communicate, to achieve, work and prosper.

Exam technique is also an important part of the agenda, when necessary, to help students excel in the exams they need for the next stage of their education.

These ideas form the basis of my teaching methods which are all about enabling my students to realise their full potential.