Culture vulture

26th November 2004 at 00:00
Roald Dahl was an answer to a prayer for Mike Sheridan

Best book ever

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (pictured) is special to me. I was introduced to it through an unbelievably dull maths lesson at primary school. We had to tackle 25 questions of long division and I remember praying for something to get me out of it. The roof fell in and we were all decanted to the library, where our teacher picked up a copy of the book and started reading it to us.

Best film ever

I always loved watching old musicals on BBC2 on a Sunday afternoon and was utterly transfixed when my wife, Sally, and I went to see Moulin Rouge recently. It had all the conventional aspects of musical, but was so contemporary, so exciting and very clever.

Best on stage

I saw Lesley Garrett, the opera singer, at an open-air concert in Cheltenham a few years ago. It was wonderful to listen to this woman with a magnificent voice but also a proper northern accent. We saw her at the Sands Centre in Carlisle in September, where she sang all styles of music, treating the Beatles with the same reverence as Tosca. Sally, a singer, is trying to do something similar in my school, and every Thursday afternoon introduces the children to a wide variety of styles of singing. I plan to bring in dancers and visual artists too, to give children a real cultural breadth.

Favourite resource

Colin Weatherley's Transforming Teaching and Learning: developing critical skills for living and working in the 21st century (Network Educational Press) is the only education book I have read from cover to cover. It gives fantastic examples of how critical thinking is used in British classrooms.

To share with pupils

I want to take pupils to a big city next summer, preferably London, to let them experience the energy and culture. I'd like them to see The Lion King to make them realise theatre can be vibrant and exciting. It's a story they know, the music is powerful and the costumes are inventive. Better than the telly.

Mike Sheridan, 30, is head of Nenthead primary, a small school in Cumbria.

He also teaches drama to children on Saturdays at Stagecoach in Carlisle, a performing arts centre run by his wife, Sally. He was talking to Elaine Williams

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