Home alone;Secondary;Reviews;Books;English

30th April 1999 at 01:00
INSIDE ENGLISH. By Steve Eddy, Shelagh Hubbard and Adrian Tissier. Longman. pound;7.99.

It's a question of confidence. In the classroom, with the teacher there and people's brains to pick, it all seems crystal clear, but faced with the same exercises for homework, confusion can set in.

The idea of being able to help students with their homework without the burden of running a homework club or squeezing in consultations at break and after school seems an excellent one; supporting learning without making extra demands on the teacher. That is Inside English's starting point.

It has a systematic plan of aids and exercises covering every aspect of key stage 3 for the student to work through indepen-dently. The book is well set out and illustrated, with clear, thoughtful prompts, ranging from tackling spelling difficulties to writing about Shakespeare's character-isation. It attempts to target a range of abilities and is, for the most part, successful.

The problem is not the book but how to use it. In order to make sense for the student, the exercises should be linked to the programmes of study being followed in school: there is no point in going through exercises on Macbeth before having read the play.

Here is a book designed for independent study which cannot easily be studied independently - the student needs guidance as to which chapter to tackle when.

Inside English would work best as a supplement to, rather than a substitute for, home-work that is part of existing programmes of study. As a way of refreshing interest and enhancing confidence in Year 9, it could prove invaluable.

Sarah Matthews is a former head of English at Chipping Norton School, Oxfordshire

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today