Looking ahead

27th January 2006 at 00:00
On January 30, Lynne Truss, author of Eats, Shoots and Leaves, takes the Teaching Challenge (Teachers' TV, 9-9.15pm): she goes to a girls' secondary school in Worthing, West Sussex, and finds out whether it is possible to teach students where to put their apostrophes. Punctuation is a subject that has reduced sensitive teachers to tears and sadistic ones to fits of vicious rage.

Two programmes coming up on Teachers' TV, aimed at NQTs in primary schools, offer practical tips for life outside the classroom. From One Thing to Another (February 20, 3-3.15pm), shows you how to move a class safely around the school. Working With Others (February 20, 3.15-3.30pm), is about establishing good relationships with support staff and mentors.

For those in secondary schools, PPA Time (Teachers' TV, February 23, 4-4.15pm) suggests strategies for making the best use of time allocated for planning, preparation and assessment.

The Discovery Channel is devoting successive Sundays in February to two strands about how things work: More Industrial Revelations (February 5, 9am-6pm), and How It's Made (February 12, 8am-7pm). The first is a collection of half-hour films about different industrial processes at the time of the Industrial Revolution: printing, hydraulic pumps, machine tools, building materials, mining and weaving.

How It's Made looks at the manufacture of everyday items: boiled sweets, false teeth, electric wires, holograms, road signs... In each case, the shortish films can slot into a single lesson and could have applications in different curriculum areas such as history, technology, even art and design.

On BBC Learning Zone, there is a repeat of The Animated Canterbury Tales (BBC2, February 3, 4.30-6am). Designed in particular for teaching English to 11-16-year olds, these films are beautifully made using puppet animation for the story of the pilgrimage and cel animation (the traditional method for producing filmed cartoons) for the tales that the pilgrims tell. With a script in modern English, they offer a good introduction to Chaucer's work, which should appeal to pupils of different abilities, and they can be seen with Middle English dialogue later in the month (BBC2, February 23, 4-5.30am).

Robin Buss

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