‘Love on the Dole’ – a forgotten classic

love on the dole

The bookshelves in English classrooms or English departments can be the depositories of secret treasures. A few minutes stolen in another colleague’s classroom while waiting for the Men’s to be freed-up or to avoid the threat of a suspected cover … Continue reading

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‘This is not about me’ by Janice Galloway


  I have a long connection with Janice Galloway, author of The Trick is to Keep Breathing the Scottish Text for Higher English, even though she doesn’t know it. At a book reading twenty years ago I asked her a … Continue reading

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It’s time James Hogg was given his rightful place at the peak of Scottish Literature

The Three Perils of Man

I’m reading James Hogg’s The Three Perils of Man. Unlike Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, it is not very well known. Thanks to Andre Gide’s introduction to the 1945 publication Hogg’s portrayal of a man … Continue reading

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The power of continued focus

This is part of a series of blogs that focuses on the attitudes of mind, behaviours and actions that a person can use to be successful at an English course. It’s practical stuff that, if applied, will have a practical … Continue reading

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Failing Higher English Close Reading? What to start doing now.

Close Reading is the true test in Higher English to a large extent. It is possible to be trained or train yourself to pass essays. Practise again and again, know your text and have experience of the tasks, and you’ll … Continue reading

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Melissa reads… The Silver Linings Playbook

Like many, I was drawn to the idea of reading Matthew Quick’s The Silver Linings Playbook after seeing the recently released film adaptation, starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence. It is a quirky comedy about two individuals recovering from mental illnesses banding … Continue reading

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Building a Bridge through Books

Sunday 27 January 2013 marks Holocaust Memorial Day in the UK. It is a date now part of many schools’ calendars with commemorative assemblies, projects, visits and presentations taking place. I’ve actively supported HMD since it began in 2001 and … Continue reading

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Let’s Read the Way

I have a stock answer when a parent asks me, as their child’s English teacher, how to help their teenager to improve ‘their English’ at home. My answer? Simply to do everything they can to encourage them to read. Just … Continue reading

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John Galt – forgotten writer of Scottish Literature

The Scottish Qualifications Authority is looking for novels, plays and poems by Scottish writers for the ‘Scottish Question’ that will comprise part of the new English Higher examination. Most of the names on the list up for consideration so far … Continue reading

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Higher English Prose Critical Essay – The Introduction debate…

There are three or four ways to approach doing a prose introduction. In this blog we’ll briefly outline each approach and then give a reason or two for rejecting or accepting the approach. It’s up to you to decide what … Continue reading

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