Author Archives: @wonderfrancis

About @wonderfrancis

Francis Gilbert is a Lecturer in Education at Goldsmiths, University of London, teaching on the PGCE Secondary English programme. He also teaches the Creative Writing module on the MA in Children’s Literature, which is run by Maggie Pitfield and Professor Michael Rosen. Previously, he worked for a quarter of a century in various English state schools teaching English and Media Studies to 11-18 year olds. He has, at times, moonlighted as a journalist, novelist and social commentator. He is the author of ‘Teacher On The Run’, ‘Yob Nation’, ‘Parent Power’, ‘Working The System -- How To Get The Very Best State Education for Your Child’, and a novel about school, ‘The Last Day Of Term’. His first book, ‘I'm A Teacher, Get Me Out Of Here’ was a big hit, becoming a bestseller and being serialised on Radio 4. In his role as an English teacher, he has taught many classic texts over the years and has developed a great many resources to assist readers with understanding, appreciating and responding to them both analytically and creatively. This led him to set up his own small publishing company FGI Publishing (fgipublishing.com) which has published his study guides as well as a number of books by other authors, including Roger Titcombe’s ‘Learning Matters’ and anthology of creative writing 'The Gold Room'. He is the co-founder, with Melissa Benn and Fiona Millar, of The Local Schools Network, www.localschoolsnetwork.org.uk, a blog that celebrates non-selective state schools, and has his own website, www.francisgilbert.co.uk. He has appeared numerous times on radio and TV, including Newsnight, the Today Programme, Woman’s Hour and the Russell Brand Show. In June 2015, he was awarded a PhD in Creative Writing and Education by Goldsmiths.

Advice on the English Language paper

What do you think of this blog post: This much I know about…a step-by-step guide to the writing question on the AQA English Language GCSE Paper 1? Is it right to tell students not to answer the story question? Is … Continue reading

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Media & English PGCE ‘Teacher Advert’ videos

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11 important points NATE make about the English NC

NATE published an important response to the 2015 National Curriculum for English. The full report is here, but I have pasted in the summing up points at the end of the document as they provide both an excellent summary of … Continue reading

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The dialectical essay: 8 key points

Definition: dialectic noun  1. the art of investigating or discussing the truth of opinions. synonyms: reasoning, argumentation, contention, logic; More The overall idea. This is an essay which deals with thesis (argument) and antithesis (counter-argument), which leads to synthesis (a … Continue reading

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13 Ways of Teaching Essay Writing

Encourage free writing to begin with. Tell students not to worry what they write: just write what they know to begin with. The important thing is to get into the practice of writing. You only know the beginning when you … Continue reading

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The two types of essay: inductive and deductive

There are two major intellectual processes that usually go on in most essays: deductive and inductive reasoning. Deductive reasoning starts with making general points, formulating a generalized argument and then looking at the particular. For example, if you were writing … Continue reading

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8 things English teachers should know about the Enlightenment

No one is quite sure when the Enlightenment Period begins and ends. Some French historians argue that it happened between 1715-1789, when the French Revolution started. Other commentators believe it began in the 1620s with the emergence of the scientific revolution … Continue reading

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Figurative language

Questions What is figurative language? Why are the following phrases figurative in certain contexts? The light at the end of the tunnel… The glass half full. Definition Figurative language is a general term for a group of linguistic devices called … Continue reading

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Feature spotting

Questions What is feature spotting? Why is it flagged up as a problem in numerous examiners’ reports and amongst English teachers generally? Definition Feature-spotting is when student isolate a technique, a feature, such as alliteration, but then do not explore … Continue reading

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Ecological education: 5 ways to use the environment in English lessons

Questions What do we mean by ecological education? Why is relevant for English teachers? Definition Ecological education helps students learn about how we are all connected to the earth and its ecological; it stresses the inter-connectedness of things. Key Points … Continue reading

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