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Saturday, 7 March 2015

About Biscuits ..... Tales of a Trainee

Our resident blogger and English Trainee reflects on this week's training...

‘Mmmm, biscuits’ – this is surely what Homer Simpson would say instead of ‘Mmmm, donuts’ if, in a parallel universe, he was British and not American. And a teacher. In a training session today on progressing from ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’ my inner Homer (we’ve all got one) was awoken by the following thunk*, which proves yet again that in teaching everything can be brought back to baked or confectionery goods:

If an outstanding lesson was a biscuit what kind of biscuit would it be and why?

So what is the answer? Bourbon? Hobnob? Party Ring? Jammy Dodger? Chocolate Digestive? Fortune cookie? The point is, of course, that there is no correct answer; our trainer simply wanted us to reflect on the ingredients of an outstanding lesson. It’s not a bad analogy: biscuit means ‘twice baked’ which to me suggests that an outstanding lesson is done to perfection: you have shallow learning (the first bake) followed by deeper learning (the second bake) and then you eat it – profound learning! Unfortunately for us trainees it often feels like the biscuit tin is just out of reach.

However, as we learnt today, there is a clear difference between producing an outstanding lesson and being an outstanding teacher. As one Ofsted inspector put it, ‘An outstanding teacher delivers consistently good lessons’. It is comforting to know that a good lesson is not considered half-baked; we don’t all have to be the Mary Berry of education. That said, the day I get my first ‘outstanding’ it will be like winning the The Great British Bake Off.

*OED definition: Thunk: 1. Informal or humorous past participle of think; 2. A "beguiling question about everyday things that helps you to look at the world in a whole new light"; 3. The sound of a child's head slamming into a table.

Matt Irwin, English Trainee
Wyvern Technology College and Upper Shirley High School

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