From authors to authors: subject specific guidance p2

Over time we have collated guidance from our authors based on specific subjects for resource sharing on Tes. Here, you can find a breakdown of some of the tips which we think will help to support you.

Tes Author Team

Teacher author stood besides a gift that is passing on knowledge for specific subjects including maths, English, Science, Geography, History, etc.

Are you looking for some subject specific guidance for resource sharing on Tes? Below you can find part two of From authors to authors: subject specific guidance.




What is the hardest part of making resources for languages? 

In order to learn effectively, students need resources that are clear, easy to understand and which involve plenty of repetition in a variety of ways. 

That’s why I constantly re-evaluate my resources in light of what worked and what didn’t after a lesson, meaning every resource has been carefully scrutinised. Coming up with quality resources is time-consuming, and I always opt for quality over quantity. 

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What are some of the challenges of teaching MFL and how do your resources overcome these issues? 

Compared to their counterparts in Germany, many English students are less motivated to learn languages. But I find that pupils are more engaged when I use games and puzzles as they bring a sense of fun into the classroom.   

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What is the hardest part of making resources for languages? 

I find that it is difficult keeping the material interesting and engaging within the restraints of using limited vocabulary. We want students to love what they are doing, and to be speaking the target language, but they often lack the vocabulary necessary to communicate their thoughts and feelings. To be successful, a unit needs to be carefully planned to scaffold their previous learning and provide them with the most pertinent vocabulary. 

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What tips do you have for successful language immersion programmes? 

Learning a second language is amazing and language immersion programmes are an excellent way of teaching several subjects in a foreign language. Planning is the real key in order to achieve the goals. You need to have specific goals and learning outcomes in mind for your students. Take your time and plan everything!   

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What are your top 5 tips for creating successful resources for the geography classroom? 

  • Use images  
    Geography is all about the real world and visual content is a great way to engage students.  

  • Map it out 
    Overcome the lack of understanding about world geography by making use of maps for identifying places and looking at where they are situated in the wider world. 

  • See things from another angle 
    Resources are for learners, so take a step back and allow space for students to share their thoughts, for example when dissecting a photograph.   

  • Encourage creativity 
    Set tasks that require a mixture of responses and remember that contribution at any level is valuable for learning. 

  • Keep learning! 
    Don’t worry if you don’t know the answer to a student’s question. Research it and use it as material for the following lesson. 

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How do you make sure your [Geography] resources are interesting and engaging? 

I approach my teaching with the fundamental belief that you can teach any child anything as long as you can break it down into enough steps.

My resources are interesting because I’m not afraid to tackle challenging geographical topics, like hurricanes or tornadoes. By breaking down these complicated ideas, you have the opportunity to deliver pure geography which is accessible to everyone.

I feel it’s essential to think about what is required at GCSE and work the knowledge and skills back all the way to the foundation stage. At any age, I want my students to be practising good geography skills that can be built upon and will keep them engaged in their work.

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Religious Studies


How do you deal with sensitive topics covered in religious education? 

Look at creating a safe environment first before you decide which activities to use in your classroom. We shouldn’t shy away from important questions which need answers, even if the route to get there involves challenging discussions. It’s about being simultaneously truthful and sensitive. I believe that even the most complex philosophical ideas, issues of personhood or epistemology can be grasped by all students as long as you prepare the content in the right way. 

One of the most sensitive topics to teach is the Holocaust. When creating resources, I thought hard about how to discuss the Holocaust in a way that’s understandable, personal and relevant to students. By humanising it, you can help your class to try to understand something so awful. 

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How does the use of songs enhance teaching? 

They enhance teaching in two ways. Firstly, songs are easy to remember and catchy lyrics can help students to learn and recall new concepts. Secondly, music is a familiar social activity and that can make digesting new information more enjoyable for learners.  

How does music support students with learning difficulties? 

Music has the power to help learners reach a range of social, emotional, physical, communication and cultural needs. It is a language that does not require words, therefore bypassing cognitive impairments and connecting to a person at a primal level. 

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As an author of art resources, what are some of the challenges you face? 

I try to ensure that my teaching resources are informative, stimulating and easy to navigate. 

They also aim to allow for individual interpretation by student and teacher. Prescriptive lessons should always be avoided because students should be encouraged to think for themselves - the next generation will need to be creative thinkers to be able to adapt to our fast changing work environment. Universities and employers are looking for people who can problem solve, rather than simply recall facts and figures. 

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What are your top tips for a successful STEM program? 

I think the fun and creative side of the activity is very important to engage students. You can invite in parents and engineers from your local industry to give you a hand – many companies encourage their employees to do ‘STEM outreach’ work. Creative use of cheap and everyday materials will help to keep costs down. 

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What are your tips for making technology based subjects engaging for students? 

Computer science can be hit or miss with the students, they seem to love it or find it utterly pointless. I’ve had my battles with students who want to become engineers, mechanics or join the forces. What I’ve learnt over the years is that it’s important that students can see the link between how binary helps their numeracy skills, and how reading and writing code develops their reasoning and logic pathways. Making the subject fun is also really important – to grab the attention of those who look like they’re slipping away. Using lead learners in your classroom culture – their peers who support them both inside and outside the classroom – is also vital to their own success. I love inquisitive minds and the daily challenge. I also love playing with Lego and RC vehicles, and finding productive and rewarding ways to use this in my IT suite. Happily, my students love it too, so I must be doing something right. 

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