CPD for English Departments/Work with students

These courses can be provided either direct to English departments or, as is the better approach, to students while teachers observe. 

Grammar, punctuation or spelling – With the rise in status of the explicit teaching of grammar (and of punctuation), English departments are presented with an issue: that their own knowledge of these areas might be insufficient for their students to achieve as well as they might. Any of these sessions can be presented as a twilight to English departments so that they can teach these areas more confidently and more knowledgeably.

Presentation Devices - It has always been something of a problem that English teachers have been required to teach students how presentation devices work in print and on the web. This is the realm of the designer and graphic artist and not an area that English teachers are necessarily qualified or expert in. As a result, students end up writing, ‘to catch the readers’ attention’ at every possible opportunity and, consequently, scoring lower marks than they might have done in this question if they had received a little expert intervention. This twilight session helps teachers to lead their students to be properly analytical about how presentation devices work and to construct telling responses to exam questions in this area.

Transactional Writing – We can tend towards giving students easily remembered mnemonics that don’t really attack the structure or the fine level of written skills required to shine in these areas. Do we ever consider using Aristotle’s structure for persuasion and for argument? What is the difference between logos and pathos? What techniques do politicians use to persuade us to vote for them? How does use of the present tense in a ‘writing to describe’ piece enliven writing? This session looks at how to construct excellent responses to transactional writing tasks so that students may attain results that are vastly distanced from the average.

Approaches to Original Writing – The majority of student responses here tend to go in the front door of the third person, past tense narrative; when, in fact, there is always a better structure to be found somewhere round the back. This session looks at ways in which you can structure responses so that they use present tense flashbacks, polyphonic narratives, so they feature free verse and are observant of fine detail and along with the technical aspects of writing engagingly.

Approaches to Unseen Poetry – This session, which is best taught to students with teachers observing the lesson(s), models an approach to unseen (or even seen) poetry that focuses on musicality, meter, congruence and rhyme scheme, verse form, imagery, use of punctuation, structure and layout. It prompts structured, high order analytical skills amongst students whilst at the same time being utterly engaging.

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