English author Michael Ratcliffe, aka mratcliffe88, describes how finding the link between the topic and the real world can help create engaging classroom resources.
Tell us about your teaching experience.
I’ve now been teaching for seven years and it’s become not only a career, but a passion. My roles have varied from classroom teacher, key stage 3 leader and key stage 5 leader to whole school literacy coordinator and union rep. These roles have aided my development in and out of the classroom. I’ve put myself into schools that have been graded outstanding and all the way to special measures. With this variety of experience, I’ve ensured that my behaviour management is outstanding and my lessons can challenge, differentiate, inspire and motivate, regardless of the setting.
How do you get students to engage with your resources?
My students engage because I’m lively and passionate about my subject. English can be a real struggle for some pupils, but I ensure that all lessons, no matter the topic, are relevant to them and their lives; this is the hook. In every lesson, I strive to ensure that all pupils are challenged through differentiation by offering tasks of different varieties, using questioning to raise the challenge and provide a positive atmosphere in which learning is a mixture of celebrating trying and challenging improvement.
When you’re creating a resource, where do you start?
For me, personally, a quality resource needs to be bright, engaging and relevant to the pupil. Students say they study Shakespeare because they ‘have’ to, but why do they ‘have’ to? They should ‘want’ to! For example, my GCSE scheme of work for Macbeth offers over 50 resources, differentiated and challenging, ready to go! Language is also important at GCSE and A-level, preparing pupils for their exam. It inspired me to write this GCSE lesson and A- level scheme of work to help students plan for the writing section.
What is your tip for creating engaging resources?
Simply remember that if you find that link between the topic and their lives right now, you’ll conquer engagement and guarantee a fantastic resource that all teachers and pupils can engage with. Go forth and teach!