Phil Beadle Education teacher, journalist, author and teacher /images/phil-beadle.jpg Recitation and The Charge of the Always Right Brigade The Catholic Church which way back in the seventies seemed very keen on the Irish side of my familyrsquo;s fealty implanted a number of things into my long-term memory Many of us will be able to recall and recite lsquo;The Lordrsquo;s Prayerrsquo; but I believe it is only Catholics who have lsquo;Hail Maryrsquo; off to patnbsp;Like all prayers and hymns and most elements of glorifying some historical tradition of the oppression of one set of people by another it is a funny old beast At the age of seven I always felt there was something not quite right about being forced to recite ldquo;blessed is the fruit of thy wombrdquo; five times after having sat in a dark box and having been again forced to confess to sometimes invented sins and it is clear that having seven-year-old kid admitting to being one of the ldquo;sinnersrdquo; through mouthing a script that has them as so is designed as practice at submission and intended to in some waynbsp;destroynbsp;self regard and the idea ofnbsp;th... blog 2021-09-24 12:31:43 GMT On Grammar Teaching and Fronted Adverbials. Disclaimer ndash; Irsquo;m not a grammarian If Irsquo;ve got stuff wrong here and it is more than likely it is because I am entirely self-taught Grammar wasnrsquo;t taught at all at my school Irsquo;ve had to bolt on bits of knowledge as Irsquo;ve gone along and the some total of this can be higgledy-piggledy Irsquo;m happy for people to let me know where the errors are but crowing over them might be taken to be a bit yucky Encountering the phrase lsquo;performative ignorancersquo; on I think a primary teacherrsquo;s twitter timeline recently caused me to consider a response on the Great Fronted Adverbial Debate 2021 The reason I don39;t weigh in on matters like this is because broadly it seems the rejection of certainly the form of grammar teaching supposedlyprobably mandated in primaries is a position of the left and there is a long history of the left arguing with itself that has made a sizeable and continuing contribution to being continually governed by those who seem as if the... blog 2021-02-16 15:31:45 GMT Book Review - Zero Tolerance: A Novel Itrsquo;s a bit surprising that this book has had so little fuss or attention Perhaps it is because it is fiction rather than a look into how you might use the revolutionary dual coding erm to show pictures while you are talking at kids; perhaps because the author while a blogger is not a member of any identifiable crew nor of any kind of scene that celebrates itself; perhaps because the author is old school is committed to the community he or she works in and exists to serve rather than to profit The author is a teacher of the vintage of those who had been around for a decade or two pre-academisation which given that the majority of these have been in the last decade or so does not necessarily make them that old but there are signs of himher belonging to an era dominated by head teachers who were old fashioned liberals who led with the heart Such people still exist somewhere It narrates a collapse in moral standards that occurs when a fictional community school is taken under th... blog 2021-01-10 13:43:37 GMT Review of 'Skint Estate' by Cash Carraway I don39;t really know what a disclaimer is I think you are meant to put this bland signifier of broadsheety zeitgeist first and then make some admission you know the person whose work you are writing about Disclaimer I do not know Cash Carraway Disclaimer I grew up on the same streets as her and am inclined to liking anyone from those streets who attempts to steal a voice for themselves since no one gifts influence to the denizens of Maple Road and its immediate environs Disclaimer I have the same harsh and aggressive Penge accent as Carraway: an accent she describes as being at the root of not being taken seriously the wrong accent for politics the wrong accent for anything other than the boxing gym the football terrace the food bank the discontinued dole queue Carraway is a skint single mum originally from a Penge estate with dreams or lsquo;pretensionsrsquo; as more middle-class commentators might have it of escaping her life of crucifying broke-ness though her talent as a writer... blog 2019-09-18 10:18:50 GMT The Story of Ear A lot of people have asked me no one has asked me: Irsquo;m lying to make myself appear significant and relevant Irsquo;m certainly not one of these why do you use so many brackets Actually they havenrsquo;t What no one has really ever asked me aside from ldquo;Which side had the best uniforms in the American Civil Warrdquo; ldquo;Do you believe in sex after marriagerdquo; and ldquo;Who is your favourite Grimsby Town manager of all timerdquo; is ldquo;Why have you got a picture of your own ear on the front cover of lsquo;28 Rantsrsquo; A number of theories have not been expressed The first of which so that we can39;t see your face might appear to have some substance I share the opinion of First Nation Americans of photographers They are thieves They take something that doesn39;t belong to them a personrsquo;s image and claim it as their creation But I am undoubtedly less fresh faced than many and it would appear too much a work of a hubris that borders on the abusive to place an ima... blog 2019-08-27 20:55:36 GMT On Still Getting Things Wrong Irsquo;ve come to the end of a yearrsquo;s stay in a Secondary Modern and wanted to linger a while on how wrong I still get things even after two-and-a-half decades of parading knowledge or its lack in classrooms multiple I was introduced to year 11 at the beginning of this academic year through a series of lsquo;masterclassesrsquo; on Macbeth Irsquo;m uncomfortable with this nomenclature as while it is probably technically true it comes with the sense of an ego out of control but I recall still my first impressions of young people I got to know quite well during the year Many of the same students stuck out at the beginning as have left indelible memories at the end: S ndash; bright enough bumptious difficult to manage; D ndash; quiet serious studious; P ndash; a cheeky tiger with an ability to understand the complexities of poetry rather better than the simple fact that achievement involves hard work and sometimes a bit of hush; B ndash; polite quietly determined and the kind of da... blog 2019-08-12 14:04:40 GMT Why I Teach For a good few years Irsquo;ve been asking my students the question lsquo;How do you kill Godrsquo; Itrsquo;s part of the study of Macbeth and precedes the students putting crimes of deicide regicide genocide parricide matricide infanticide etc into an order of horridness They have to construct that order both for our time and for Shakespearersquo;s thereby understanding that our moral landscapes are rather different to those of Shakespearersquo;s audiences Additionally it leads towards understanding the gravity of Macbethrsquo;s crime Irsquo;m looking for students to display understanding of the fact that regicide was the closest you could get to deicide in the corporeal world and that consequently God as the stated owner of vengeance it is his you see is likely to take retribution My lovely student Isabelle however saw it rather differently nbsp; ldquo;To kill God you have to stab him You need the sharpest knife you can find and you cannot do it alone ndash; you must go with at... blog 2018-01-27 19:14:00 GMT On Authoritarianism This England is a prison -- a walking shadow; it is a unit for the correction of the errancies of the juvenile a young offendersrsquo; prison Our young people are viewed by policy makers as briefly animated pieces of meat herded into the present and future abattoir of lives of indentured slavery They enter an education system that seeks chiefly to diminish cost and secondarily to identify elites who might prosper and graduate to being the next generation of protectors of the right to rule of their forebears The money in the system has been siphoned elsewhere upwards; huge budget cuts are currently swaggering big balled and bowlegged through saloon bar gates to savage state education University education has already been privatised monetised profitised and young people who are prepared to devote themselves to the acquisition of knowledge and the possibility of a better future must leap huge budgetary hurdles that will leave them pound;50000 in debt before they graduate to their first... blog 2017-03-12 21:20:01 GMT Lewisham Parents Fight Budget Cuts Irsquo;ve just returned from the second meeting of the Forest Hill Parentsrsquo; Action Group Again a packed meeting: there were more parents than chairs and several had to be imported for the session It turns out that the ldquo;Reorganisation of the school administration and non classroom support staffrdquo; that parents have been told about though a letter from the head teacher and of which they have been further informed ldquo;our extensive and meticulous planning has focused on minimising any redundanciesrdquo; has resulted in 22 members of support staff being made redundant since the beginning of the academic year The plans for the school are to implement ldquo;A refreshed leadership structure throughout the schoolrdquo; and that this will ldquo;ensure that we can plan a bright future for our studentsrdquo; There are suspicions from parents that this lsquo;refreshedrsquo; leadership structure will not affect leadership of the senior variety but might involve a complete decimati... blog 2017-03-07 23:00:29 GMT Parents Applaud Teachers' Strike Action Irsquo;ve just returned from an open meeting at which a packed audience of parents applauded their childrenrsquo;s teachers for voting in favour of strike action Forest Hill School for Boys a community school in south London which serves a mixed demographic has uncovered an eight hundred thousand pound deficit Lewisham Council will not reveal how that deficit was allowed to accrue and when it is suggested that the council themselves must accept liability as they had a duty to audit the schoolrsquo;s accounts mouth sketchily about not really doing detailed audits into schoolsrsquo; day-to-day finances anymore How shallow must an audit be to miss an 800 grand hole This deficit when combined with punitive and swingeing cuts to school budgets nationwide will result in the following proposed changes to the education of the boys and the working conditions of the teacher ndash; neither party caused such a deficit but it is the children and their teachers who will suffer Already the follow... blog 2017-03-01 21:37:05 GMT Old Age Traveller - The Problem of the Third Act Impending old age presents a number of problems: not the least of which is reconciling onersquo;s self to oncoming oblivion Pondering elimination is a bore More interesting is the puzzle of a way forward Given the inevitability of the hopefully lsquo;eventualrsquo; outcome how does one motivate onersquo;s self What versions of life are there to be enjoyed given that you will never again bare toned shoulders in shirtless dungarees in a bar delighting the womenfolk of Stoke Newington What romance and profit is to be found in work as your capabilities descend to dribbling in a bucket What new method is required to ensure we battle termination in as virile a manner as one might Where is the release before the release My search for role models has generally been found outside of the office I learnt spirit and poetry from Leonard Cohen integrity and resilience from Cathal Coughlan softness and soul from the words of Mark Eitzel The fact that the latter two are less well known than the for... blog 2017-02-25 08:45:12 GMT A Journey to Calais ldquo;Multi culturalism is genociderdquo; So reads the sign stuck on a lamp-post as you exit Dover Priory Station in the direction of the docks stomping in a pair of battered Doctor Martens like a Liverpool docker on his way to work ldquo;Well thatrsquo;s not strictly semantically accuraterdquo; I think to myself: ldquo;maybe in the regions but certainly not in London And isnrsquo;t an aspiration towards mono-culturalism reputed to lead somewhere bad Irsquo;m sure I had a lesson about that oncerdquo; Dover and I have previous form 39 years ago I attended school camp hereabouts in Kearsney and gave myself appendicitis as a result of eating seven or eight bowls of Mr Howesrsquo;s ugly porridge Irsquo;ve always looked back on it as a magical time in a magical town and have often expressed the desire to move there Here in the cold light of a February morning I can see why my wife historically has steadfastly refused to entertain such a notion Born of south London working class stock ... blog 2017-02-09 08:13:09 GMT Whelks and the Working Class It costs pound;100 for a family of four to be allowed through the turnstiles of Chessington World of Adventures: this sum which is no small beer if yoursquo;re within coughing distance of the minimum wage entitles you to a day spent in interminable queues as you listen for the four thousandth time to the tannoy announcing in a cod Chinese accent that ldquo;Wise dragon heshe say sic keep your arms inside the gondola at all timesrdquo; You get to go on a sum total of about four rides without a fast pass ticket and this becomes apparent within seconds of passing through what passes for security The hut that sells the fast-pass tickets which will at least guarantee your wife and children are allowed to be spun around and made temporarily dizzy is lodged immediately after yoursquo;ve got through those first barriers to entrance Fast-pass tickets come in an array of exorbitant guises but the only ones worth having cost a further pound;70 each Being a grumpy old man who hates being dizzied by... blog 2016-12-29 21:15:00 GMT On English Departments, Magic and Loss It has been a difficult few months: my Norwegian friend Werner who to me was sunshine itself and who was described by his uncle in the following accurate terms ldquo;He was an easy boy to loverdquo; will not be playing music with us any more A band that has played together for twenty years becomes a family though fewer cross words are said of course and his death hit the remaining four-of-us like an avalanche He was profoundly loved was the most talented person I have ever been in a dank rehearsal room with and a warm light has gone out He was 40 years of age nbsp; Leonard Cohen the artist whose integrity and finely worked genius has so enriched my life that I named my eldest son after him displayed characteristically impeccable politeness and timing in that the extraction of for me the chief hero from the script would have been more keenly felt if he hadnrsquo;t merged with the masterpiece on the morning following my mumrsquo;s funeral nbsp; ldquo;Things hurtrdquo; as Juli... blog 2016-12-12 21:15:19 GMT Trivium II Irsquo;ve been meaning to read Martin Robinsonrsquo;s Trivium book for two years now but therersquo;s always been work to be done dishes to be washed parenting to be useless at Irsquo;ve been meaning to read it but the email that gets it washed and brought to me was only sent last week and the book only arrived a few days ago it is exquisite: Irsquo;ve been told this by people I respect but it is better even than their positive reviews nbsp; Irsquo;ve regretted my failure here as Martin is the kind of gentleman scholar and verbal acrobat who would appreciate the 1970s cartoon reference in this sentence equally as much as he would enjoy the appropriateness of the following semi colon; you only have to spend minutes in his presence to realize you are in the presence of a ceaselessly inquisitive man of great pedigree in London education who has command of his thoughts His publishers recently asked me to provide some back cover copy for his curated text Trivium II and I could easily ... blog 2016-06-13 21:12:46 GMT The Impossibility of Lesson Planning I taught a lesson this week to a nice group of thirty kids in year 10 It would not be too rude I hope to describe them as slightly lower attaining but for a first meeting with a one-off teacher they were as kind as one might hope and in the plenary they said that if there were a next time with the same teacher then the thing that would improve the lesson is that they would be more respectful I liked them nbsp; It was technically a very strong lesson without being in danger of being inspiring in any way It would probably have got the top end of good if observed and graded though any observer might have struggled to find ways it could have been improved without scratching around for a lie or two On a good week a proper teacher might want to have taught a lesson of a similar standard once a day or so nbsp; The process was as follows Their real teacher had sent me a stock of their previous essays I had read through all of them taking notes as to the things they might be able to... blog 2016-04-22 21:19:40 GMT Pedagogy is political It seems a glib truism to state that everything is political but clearly to even the vaguest of thinkers it is Your choice of partner is a political decision; your choice of friend too; equally and perhaps more obviously your choice of enemy is political; probably your decision as to whether you opt for butter or margarine is in some way a political one: I tend towards thinking that butter is probably a ruling class scam but also towards thinking that margarine is much the same But I also think that shoehorns spoons sugar and even the notion of subtlety along with any every other concept that ever began with a letter ever are ruling class scams nbsp; Pedagogy is probably a little less politically opaque than what you spread on your bread: it is deeply and profoundly political And so the past current and future lsquo;debatersquo; around what constitutes approved classroom practice must by nature be political ndash; there being an Ofsted and therefore government approved method of ... blog 2016-04-08 21:36:53 GMT On Marking, @Krisboulton and why I do not contribute to the 'debate' Sometimes the distinction between being a player in your own life and a knight or bishop in a script written by someone else can be difficult to discern Ill illustrate my own experiences of this a little later This caveat aside I have nothing whatsoever against the oft publicized work of the teachers at Michaela Community School King Solomon Academy et all From what I can discern this is a group of very bright young teachers who are questioning orthodoxies trying to imagine better ways of doing things and who are actually modelling ideas that may do something about the absurdity of teacher workload As they kick over the statues it is impossible for any semi-retired iconoclast not to find himself nodding in approval even as he notes that the stone shins being kicked are in fact his own One of these teachers Kris Boulton quite reasonably took issue in the Sunday Times recently with a poor sentence of mine that he claims I wrote in an article in October 2012 This is pleasingly certain... blog 2016-03-16 08:55:39 GMT Let's Play Master and Servant - Character Education I was recently sounded out about speaking at an event devoted to character education The organizers were charm personified but when it was pointed out that I was decidedly not in favour of such a concept being treated seriously in our education system and I would argue against it they thanked me for my honesty and discontinued their interest The following is in no way a slur to those organisers but it has caused me to articulate the reasons behind such vehemence I feel much the same about character education as I do about phrases such as the best that has been thought and written: that they are correlatives through which a Government whose classism appears naked on even on the cloudiest of days in even the most dimly lit of all possible back rooms subtly arranges the chairs so that their moral right their correctness the near divinity of their customs and the inevitable justness of their ascendance to the position of rule is bludgeoningly reiterated ad nauseum recall here Orwells im... blog 2016-02-21 21:53:58 GMT Model Answers for AQA Language Paper Higher Tier These might be of use for students studying the higher paper They're model answers to the November 2014 paper that I've written Perhaps worthy of holding up to students as a model of average writing Question 3 - Extract from Bill Bryson's Notes from a Small Island Explain the writers thoughts and feelings: Model Answer In this extract we learn more about Brysons feelings than his thoughts He sets the emotional landscape with reference to the weather which he describes as foggy and the streets which are sleeping and low-lit This creates a melancholy feel that is reflected in the authors experience of the evening His relaxed slightly diffident nature however is in contrast with the seriousness of his situation He is homeless in a foreign country and the hotels and guesthouses seem abandoned He records his response to this as only mildly dismaying Clearly this is deliberate understatement for an ironic effect: it is an extremely worrying situation and the language here subtl... blog 2016-02-09 14:55:38 GMT