The Unteachables II

If we are to take the programme running on Friday nights as reliable research (a big IF, in the light of layers of editing and programming that exists between them and us), the key messages for English teachers might be distilled thus:

  • listen to the students (even when they call you a t–t)
  • appeal to their interests have expectations that they can succeed
  • share responsibility for learning with them create activities that keep them ‘safe’ (even if you feel terrified)
  • have a variety of activities (including declaiming Shakespeare to cows) keep the kinesthetic learners moving

What’s new here? Not a lot. The same kinds of messages can be found in the Best Evidence Syntheses. But the programme is still a compelling way to remind us all that the learners won’t engage unless they have a reason to do so. Simply being in school isn’t usually enough.

Another unfortunate message, of course, is that some kids are simply unteachable, that it takes a ‘superteacher’ to teach them… unfortunate and intended consequence.

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