Tor Alexander Bruce, TES Author Eye of the Fly, describes his reasons for publishing resources that help visual learners
Tell us a bit about yourself and your background
Throughout the past three years, I’ve been involved in research and development in schools across the North East. I have been exploring their different requirements and where their current systems of operating and teaching have room for improvement. I am now working with one school to create a digital library of resources that apply to the new specification, including those on Shakespeare, 19th century novels, modern texts and poetry.
Where do you start when thinking about creating resources?
My preferred subject is English and I particularly enjoy working with the middle-to-lower ability students who seem to struggle with auditory instruction and learners who are more visual and hands-on. I’m a visual learner myself, so I get a lot from experimenting in classes and working alongside students to empower them to make their own choices to decide what works. I cannot stand teaching styles that lead only from the front of the classroom. I often select students to ‘teach’ the lesson for themselves and it helps to build rapport and respect amongst their peers.
What do you think makes a good resource?
Resources need to be accessible and designed in line with how students, or teachers, think. A good resource is ideally one that can be used online, or printed economically, so it isn't wasteful.
What three practical pieces of advice would you give to a teacher who is new to being an author?
- Think about structure
There are so many directions in which you could take a resource, but it is important to consider the flow of a one-hour classroom session and what, realistically, can be covered.
- Keep colour to a minimum
Whilst it may look attractive, the reality is a teacher may face standing in line for the photocopier and as budgets get stricter on colour printing, often plain old black and white would suffice.
- Try new things
Although sharing resources about your main subject is great, don’t be afraid to try mixing it up a bit.