11-16 with post-16 enhancement
Cornwall SCITT: C79
Course Code: Q3X1
Cornwall Teaching School:19U
Course Code: 25WK
English Language and English Literature are core subjects in the school curriculum: their significance is indisputable. English Language is our primary source of communication; it is the method through which we share our ideas and thoughts with others, and as such is essential to the field of education. It may not be the most spoken language in the world, but it is the official language in a large number of countries and has become the dominant business language. Its importance in the global market place cannot be understated.
English literature tells us about the history of the English speaking world. Through literature, young people are able to learn about themselves and their history. It teaches many lessons that have universal themes, such as love, war, desire, justice and many more. When young people read these topics, they become much more sophisticated in their thinking and, as a result, their view of the world expands. The study of literature allows young people to develop new ideas and ethical standpoints, and can help individuals to present themselves as educated members of society. Studying literature is an enriching, eye-opening experience.
The most important quality that all student teachers on our course possess is a passion for both English Language and English Literature, and sharing this passion with young people. Many graduates who consider teaching English hold a 2:1 degree or higher in the subject. Trainees typically come from areas such as English Literature or Language, Journalism, Creative Writing, Media Studies or Drama, and all of these are valuable starting points for training to teach English. It is, however, essential that all applicants possess a substantial study of literature as part of their educational background.
Experience working with young people is always particularly beneficial, especially experience in a UK comprehensive school observing and participating in English lessons. During early observations, it may be useful to look out for how young people are engaged through the use of questioning and how they are encouraged to embrace the various literary and non-literary genres of which the subject comprises. You will need a minimum of three days of school observation experience prior to interview and a minimum of ten days of school observation experience prior to starting the course.
The course reflects the realities of teaching today: it is wide ranging, covering everything from teaching Shakespeare to developing pupils’ creative writing, from the theories underlying reading development to analysing non-fiction texts, from studying grammar to learning how to use drama in the classroom, and much, much more!
You will learn about current developments in the teaching of English and its place as a core subject. The course encompasses all aspects of English teaching: English Literature, English Language, Media Studies, Drama and using ICT to support your teaching of English. You will have the opportunity to develop your subject knowledge across these areas both in the subject sessions and during self-study periods. Trainees are encouraged to research current approaches to teaching English, but also to be inventive and innovative in producing teaching materials, engaging pupils and making this core subject lively and relevant.
The main focus is on teaching the 11-16 age-group, but some trainees have an 11-18 placement too, and develop their skills in teaching at ‘A‘ level.
The course will also explore the following issues from a subject-specific perspective:
- Knowledge of literature and language, including prose, poetry, drama, children’s literature, key texts for GCSE preparation and non-fiction
- Aspects of media and drama
- Lesson planning and sequences of lessons
- Meeting the needs of all pupils in the classroom
- Teaching and learning strategies and resources
- Techniques to support monitoring, assessing, recording and reporting pupil progress
- Promoting good behaviour and a positive climate for learning
School Direct with Applied Minds
Qualified in July 2016
I got a BA (Hons) in History and joined McDonald’s as a manager, hated it and (after a few years) went overseas to teach English as a foreign language. After teaching in various after-school programmes for a number of years in South Korea, I gained an MA in Linguistics from the University of Sussex and ‘graduated’ to lecturing at two Korean universities. The time came, however, when my wife and I had to make choices for our son’s education, and we decided that we should return to the UK so that I could become a qualified teacher in the UK. Having taught for 15 years overseas, I knew that teaching was for me and that I would survive teaching here in the UK. I love the energy young people have and those ‘light bulb moments’ make everything worthwhile.
The training year was challenging, rewarding and exciting in equal measure. The highlights were two excellent placement schools with outstanding mentors, supportive staff and great students. I can honestly say that I enjoyed every single second of every day in school. My Subject Leader was inspirational and supportive throughout, ensuring that the necessary subject knowledge was in place not only for the training year but also well into my first job. Personal organisation is a must, however.
I was lucky enough to land a job in one of my placement schools, so the transition from trainee to NQT was less daunting for me than it was for others on the course. We were told as trainees that the first year of teaching would be more demanding than the training year, and having just completed my first half term I have to agree. Having my own classroom and being entirely responsible for all the students I teach more than makes up for it though! The support continues, as do the lesson observations, and I can focus on my teaching without having to work on academic assignments as well. There is always plenty to do outside of the classroom. I am loving it!
Kate gained QTS in July 2013
What were you doing before you went into teaching?
I had just completed a degree in English and Media at De Montfort University in Leicester. I came back to live at home in Cornwall and was working part-time in an ice cream shop.
Why did you decide teaching was for you at that time?
I had always planned to teach since I was about 15 years old, so it was a natural progression for me. My English teacher told me it would be a perfect job for me because I could perform in front of an audience every day. He inspired me so much throughout my education and I knew I wanted to be thought of in the same way by a student some day.
How did you find your teacher training year?
Training with a SCITT was definitely the best decision I ever made. Although it wasn’t easy, it certainly prepared me for future life in a school. It allowed me to work out very quickly whether a school environment was for me and I was given the opportunity to work in some wonderful schools in Cornwall. I received invaluable support from the SCITT teachers and felt like I could accomplish anything. I also made friends for life on the SCITT course; I still see two fellow SCITT trainees who have since moved back to London and Manchester and consider them my closest friends. Without the SCITT training course, I never would have met them.
How did you find settling into your first job?
I was offered a post at a school in Devon while training with Cornwall SCITT; it’s now four years later and I am still working in my first appointment. I found a school which suits me perfectly. Many of the students come from a difficult background but they really appreciate every piece of support, learning and advice they are given. I teach a large amount of EAL students but my training from SCITT gave me many strategies to support me with this.
Have you received a promotion or any additional responsibilities since qualifying?
After my first year teaching, I was given the role of reading co-ordinator, due to my passion for literature. After my second year, I was entrusted with running a Media Studies GCSE course, which hadn’t been run for several years. I was able to encourage 40 students to apply for the course and I currently am in charge of the subject. This year I have been appointed as Head of Year 8, which I do alongside my Media and English teaching. I know that SCITT has given me the confidence to apply for these roles, and the experience and skills to be successful in my applications.