Matthew Bentham, TES Author CreatEd, talks about his experience piloting one of the new English specifications and how it has influenced the resources he makes.
Can you tell us a bit about your professional background?
I have been teaching, including training, for five years and finished my NQT year in a very progressive school just last year. The school opted in to pilot a new English specification, which I had the pleasure (and pain!) of working on. As such, current colleagues are looking for me for schemes of work for the coming year.
Has teaching the pilot year had an effect on your resources?
Definitely! I only set up the shop this year because I could offer resources that are well-informed and relevant to the new specification. I feel the pilot year has put me in a unique position on TES, especially as more year groups will be working from this specification in the next academic year.
How do you make your resources engaging?
It’s about making them current. Let’s consider teaching Shakespeare. I didn’t particularly like Shakespeare when I started university - I think I actually said that in my interview - but now I have a genuine love for the Bard.
I was disaffected by Shakespeare because of the way it was taught to me in school – it was dry and irrelevant. That’s why I am trying to develop resources about Shakespeare that are relatable for students.
One of my more recent resources looks at positive views on migration from Thomas More and Shakespeare’s dramatisation of him through to Banksy’s street art. Although it took a while to plan, it is really important to take the time to make sure the resources are relevant.
As an author of English resources, what are some of the challenges you face?
Teachers have one goal, which is the exam in Year 11. It’s daunting and that’s why I think it is best to filter the assessment objectives down to Year 7, as we did during the pilot.
Some might worry that this will make it boring and uncreative, but examination routes don't have to be dry or use rote-learning. As my shop name and resources show, it can be a creative, discussion-based and collaborative process.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering publishing their resources?
People are attracted to pretty things. If your front cover is good, then you will get views and if your resources are good, then you will get sales. My front images are always bright, detailed and informative.
While my priority will always be my student, it's great to know that your resources are having an influence outside your own classroom. The money is a bonus too – what I have made on TES has paid for my holiday this year!