Sandra Tew, an English teacher at Clayesmore prep school, Dorset, gets to grips with grammar
Course Raising standards in writing through grammar teaching.
Provider Prime Professional Conferences (tel: 020 8455 5980).
Venue Ort House Conference Centre, London. March 2001.
Cost pound;139, paid by the school.
How did you find out about the course?
We had a flier at school and my head of department invited me to go.
I've always been interested in grammar, but I've never found it easy to teach. I also had a really bright class at the time and wanted to stretch them.
What did it promise?
"How to use grammatical knowledge to improve children's writing."
Did it deliver?
It offered loads of different strategies and was packed with information, both theory and practice. It was six hours in all - and I never got bored.
Highs and lows
There were no tedious buzz groups, and the course leader was outstanding.
The only downside was that I had to start from my village in deepest Dorset at 5am to get to the venue on time.
Message, motto or mantra
Read with a writer's eye and write with a reader's eye. In other words, keep reading and re-reading every bit of what you write. Challenge every sentence.
They had some helpful visual prompts. We learnt to use diagrams, for example, to help us structure written pieces or unpack tricky bits of grammar.
Has it made a difference?
It gave me the confidence I needed to take a passage and dissect it with a class - and a renewed enthusiasm for analysing difficult writing to see how it works. It was a real morale-booster.
Coming your way?
Prime Professional Conferences run a variety of courses for primary and secondary staff on curriculum skills and general education issues. Contact them at the number above for a leaflet.