Looking ahead

24th February 2006 at 00:00
There are "English as an additional language" pupils in primary schools, too, and the teacher's first task is to decide how much English they know.

Assessing Writing and Assessing Speaking (Teachers' TV, March 7, 9am and 9.15am) suggest a method and show how it is being applied at one primary school in Vauxhall, south London.

"My first couple of lesson observations didn't go well," says Philip Beadle, recalling his shaky start in the profession (A Lesson From the Best, Teachers' TV, February 27, 2.15pm).

Well, it turned out all right, because in 2004 he was nominated Secondary School Teacher of the Year. We see him teaching Macbeth and how he integrates visual resources into the lesson.

In fact, the same play features immediately before this programme, in Macbeth in the Classroom (Teachers' TV, February 27, 2pm), as part of what turns out to be Shakespeare Day: later on, we have Twelfth Night Compilation (Teachers' TV, February 27, 2.45pm), which looks at the making of the Channel 4 version and guides you to some support materials. On March 1, Resource Review (Teachers' TV, 2.30pm) assesses different film versions of Romeo and Juliet.

Though English teachers may find it hard to believe, not all students enjoy poetry. How do you communicate your enthusiasm? Don't bother with Dead Poets' Society; you're not Robin Williams and, even if you were, nothing is that simple. Instead, try Responding to Poetry (Teachers' TV, March 1, 2pm), where Kelly McGlinn suggests some strategies for group work with poems from different cultures and, afterwards (Teachers' TV, 2.15pm), discusses the same theme in the wider context of the English department at a secondary modern in Kent.

For further inspiration, catch the Arrows of Desire Compilation (Teachers'

TV, March 1, 2.45) which dissects poems by Lewis Carroll and Wilfred Owen.

Incidentally, First World War poetry has one important thing going for it apart from gore and disillusionment: there are loads of support materials.

The Resource Review mentioned above includes some of them.

Timewatch (BBC2, February 24, 9pm) has a film about the attempt to identify the bodies of two soldiers killed in the conflict, which illustrates its continuing power to interest and move us.

Robin Buss

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