Within the murky depths of the PEA…


3882484175_d3b41db9be_bThere has been a lot of discussion on Twitter recently about the many variations of PEE/PEA, and @FKRitson has very helpfully summarised numerous versions  floating around in the following post:here.

I don’t want to get in to the debate of whether scaffolds are a good thing or not, nor do I want to examine alternatives in this post. I simply want to share 14 subtleties of the analytical method below that you may or may not have taught before. Hope they’re of interest/use!

1.The balance between a tentative and confident style in analysis.

Phrases like ‘perhaps’ ‘suggests ‘ implies ‘ indicates’ ‘could’ are all obviously preferable to ‘This shows’ or ‘This means’, but when is too much? When do students start to sound uncertain within analysis?

I have emphasised to my groups the need to sound confident and ‘assured’ to begin with in the PEA in analysis with phrases like ‘

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Boy Trouble: some questions to help close the gender gap in English

Mark Roberts Teach

I’ve been asked a few times recently by Twitter colleagues for advice about improving their school’s outcomes for boys. Across the school generally, and English results specifically. Give us your pearls of wisdom, they politely ask. Let us know what really works.

The short answer is disappointing and predictable: it laregly comes down to high quality teaching and learning. Consistency throughout all key stages, developing a positive learning environment, challenge and support. You know all this. This is not news. There isn’t a quick panacea for ‘sorting out our boy problem’.

That’s not to say, however, that there aren’t strategic questions to reflect on if you’re in this situation – and many schools are: the overall GCSE gender gap stands at 9% and English 14%.

It isn’t easy. There are no quick fixes. We too are chipping away at the gap, knocking off 3% here and 4% there. It will…

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Question templates – an approach to improving analysis

Reflecting English

A lot of the advice teachers receive about formulating good questionsis based on Bloom’s Taxonomy. According to Bloom’s,’creation’, ‘evaluation’ and ‘analysis’ questions – the higher-order questions – sit at the top of the pile. At the bottom sit their lower-order brethren, the’remember’ and ‘understand’ questions. The theory goes that if teachers askmore high-order questions and fewer lower-order questions, then their students will be encouraged tothink more critically and deeply. And woe betideany teacher who expects his students to answer a knowledge recall question. He is merely encouraging flimsy rote learning.

Even though Bloom’s and similar questioning hierarchies are not without merit, theysuffer from two obviousflaws. First, they are based on the assumption that knowledge and critical analysis are separate entities. In fact, they are completelyenmeshed and oftenimpossibleto disentangle. Analysis always needs something to analyse. Second, they are too generic. Different subjects require different types of question. Indeed, a skilled questioner…

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