VIEWS From the pen of... Kevin Lister Teach like you imagined it!

In September 2019 in our regular look at authors working in the UK education sector, we heard from KEVIN LISTER, author of “Teach Like You Imagined It”, who explained how his book can help with the all too familiar burden of a heavy workload.

Before you became a teacher, you imagined being a teacher. In my own imagined teacher life, my list of expected tasks included: lesson planning and delivery, marking and feedback, assessment and reporting, and behaviour management. I also expected to be able to have a good work-life balance. In truth the only one of these that has ever been missing is the work- life balance.

Spend any time around teachers and the topic of work-life balance

or workload is likely to arise. Often the discussion points the finger at someone or something that drives unacceptable workload. It’s very easy to point at local management, policies, data requirements, school leadership, Ofsted, the Department for Education, or some other body and blame them for causing workload. However, the problem with assigning blame is that it doesn’t actually fix anything, it just gives us a name to demonise. Sometimes money is seen as a possible solution. Perhaps a large

and sustained injection of cash for every school resulting in massive recruitment and a substantial reduction in contact ratios would alleviate the burden? That’s also spectacularly unlikely to happen! Of course, we can and should, campaign for better funding, but if we’re being realistic this will not be the thing that solves workload issues for teachers in the short term. Having worked in the automotive industry before becoming a

teacher, every hour I spent designing a part for a new car had a cost attached that needed to be paid for once the car went on sale. By contrast teachers’ time is not accounted for by the hour, and there is no active management of working time. For schools the only real cost to teachers doing more hours is the teacher’s own wellbeing, which is sold far too cheaply. Sometimes the things we try to do to improve our teaching only

serve to make us busier. School leaders will actively celebrate staff “going the extra mile”. They will be reluctant to discourage extra efforts at the expense of teacher wellbeing because that effort might help improve the school. However, in the long-term successful schools cannot be run at the expense of unhappy and unhealthy staff. Teacher workload is potentially infinite, there is always another task

to do and this can become toxic. We need to choose to do the things that have the most impact, and actively choose not to do the things that don’t. Our students will benefit much more from a well-rested and healthy teacher than they will from another hour spent designing a new resource. I believe that every teacher can and should take action to manage

their own workload. Similarly, every school leader must encourage and support this, failure to do so is weakening your school and the profession in the long run. Teach Like You Imagined It is aimed at all teachers and school

leaders as a guide to taking back control of workload, and hopefully improving the wellbeing of the profession.

Teach Like You Imagined It by Kevin Lister for Crown House Publishing (ISBN 9781785834004) is available at and all good bookshops.

16 From the pen of... Kirstie Hewett Teaching effective

spelling In October 2019 in our regular series looking at authors working in UK education, we heard from KIRSTIE HEWETT, School Improvement Specialist (Primary English) at the University of Chichester.

When I first started teaching in primary schools some 24 years ago, I quickly discovered my love for teaching English, particularly writing. Creating exciting stimuli and sharing experiences, real and imagined, as starting points before working with children to shape, craft and redraft their texts was my favourite part of any week. However, this was not my experience of teaching spelling. In every class I taught, children seemed to be at such different points and I didn’t have that clear sense of vision that I had in writing. I wasn’t sure what were the best learning tasks, or how I could create lessons that engaged all, yet offered effective challenge and support for those who wanted it. Research, such as that by Misty Adoniou in 2013, indicates

that, like me, many teachers don’t have a sense of real direction in the teaching of spelling. The new National Curriculum and Teacher Assessment Frameworks for Y2 and Y6 raised the profile of spelling. This coincided with my appointment as a school improvement specialist in primary English at the University of Chichester, and CPD on how to teach spelling soon became a regular request from our locality schools and academies. When I took on my new role, I was really keen to find out as

much as I could about teaching spelling. I read a number of great books and articles, which contributed to my thinking but there was still quite a bit to be done in terms of bringing all these ideas and learning tasks together and finding that clear approach. In my experience, teachers just don’t have the time to do this themselves, so I wrote Teaching Spelling 6-11: designing effective learning in English and across the curriculum, which has just been published by the United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA). In this easy-to-read book, I share the key principles for teaching spelling and present learning tasks to support effective learning. Teaching children to spell accurately makes such a difference

to their writing and, when they can share their ideas with ease, their confidence as writers flourishes. As children develop proficiency in spelling, they can become more adventurous in their word choices and this can lead to the creation of lively and engaging pieces of writing across the curriculum. I think good spelling lessons involve lots of creativity, collaboration and purposeful conversation between pupils. A well-planned approach also develops meta-cognitive skills in a way that’s easy for children to recognise, and they can transfer this skill to other learning. Teaching Spelling 6-11 is useful for all teachers from Y2 upwards, and for English subject leads who wish to develop an effective approach to learning and teaching spelling in their schools. I love words, and find the study of how they look, sound and

are structured really fascinating. I hope this publication makes a valuable contribution to teachers’ thinking and gives them the confidence to teach spelling in just as passionate a way as they do the rest of the curriculum.

Reference Adoniou, M. (2014) What should teachers know about spelling? Literacy 48(3) pp. 144-154

Editor’s Choice 2020

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68