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Teachit staffroom roundup.

So--dyslexia is just an excuse for poor teaching?

Sometimes, Teachit's usually upbeat staffroom users get hopping mad. And there's nothing more likely to get them hopping mad than a comment from an MP about the woefully poor standard of teaching nowadays. So, when Graham Stringer commented that dyslexia was nothing more than a 'cruel fiction' dreamt up by education chiefs to cover up poor teaching ... well ... suffice to say, staffroom views on the matter weren't exactly low-key. 'Graham Stringer is a clown,' wrote one user and 'What an absolute ... well it would be rude to type the word!' said another. And with that out of the way, some lively comment about how best to help and teach those with dyslexia issued forth.

The new specs seem to be on everyone's minds at the moment and the staffroom is no exception. The chat in Starting the new GCSE specs mainly concerns how to manage the move from the old specifications to the new. Suggestions on how to tackle the changeover run alongside discussion of the relative merits of the different specs with one teacher moving for 'the clarity of the course' and another being put off a board because of 'over complex route options and ... choice of texts at literature.'

A Level Lit specifications-opinions needed! continues in a similar vein with a teacher considering a move as 'there's just too much for them to get their heads round in the first year of study'. Other specs are criticized for being inaccessible, lacking support, inconsistent grading and 'shoehorning in' aspects of legacy texts. The thread is summed up with the succinct, if rather disheartening statements: 'The simple truth is that it doesn't matter which board you're with, it's less rewarding and more difficult teaching A level than it was' and 'How many classroom teachers think their new spec is an improvement on the old one? I'm guessing there won't be many.' Oh dear.

Alongside Mr Stringer and changing boards, poetry it seems (particularly KS4 poetry) is getting our staffroom users down. 'There's too much, I'm not teaching it smartly enough, I feel like I'm not doing enough ... any tips?' is the lament in KS4 poetry is getting me down.

But it's all right, because alongside the detailed and innovative suggestions posted, there's also Trevor Millum with his supportive, cheery staffroom presence and his Poetry Place. And if Trevor can't help ... well ... enough said.

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The Teachit staffroom has been a lively place of late. Skim our discussion forum's pages and you'll find (amongst other things) a heated debate on APP, queries about the ins and outs of marking for different exam boards, and a call out to those experienced in the art of setting up a VLE.

Our 'hot topics' of the moment include:

* Of Mice and Men--Is it worthwhile for a weaker class? This debate centres on whether the novel is suitable for students across the ability range. What are your thoughts? Can students of all abilities engage with Steinbeck's book or should it be reserved for top sets?

* A Level Lit specifications--opinions needed! Edexcel, WJEC, OCR or AQA. What specification are you teaching and are you happy with it? If you're struggling to decide on an A level specification/looking to start over, then this is the thread for you.

* Favourite short stories for the classroom. Dip into the Autumn Term (2) issue of English Teaching Online for the writers' thoughts on teaching the short story. Which short stories are ideal for the secondary English classroom? Read the list and add your own ideas.

We've recently added an 'attachment' facility to the Teachit staffroom. If you're looking to upload documents or share a resource, you can do it easily. No more copying, pasting or laborious typing. Hoorah!
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Title Annotation:Primary and Secondary
Author:Hewitt, Lucy
Publication:NATE Classroom
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 22, 2010
Words:628
Previous Article:Explore cross-curricular links.
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