Language & autism (4)
Language & gender (4)
Selective mutism (3)
Developing children's communication (8)
Children's emotions (5)
Children and introversion (2)
High sensitivity (2)
Language & maths (3)
Improving adult communication (3)
Children and ICT (2)
Children & sleep (2)
Improving storytime & assembly (2)
Building vocabulary (3)

Bad Breath!
Understanding mood swings
The silent phase of EAL
Overcoming stage fright
Food poverty/language poverty
Children and trains
Speech sounds
Nelson Mandela tribute
Combating low self-esteem
Children and colour
Men and childcare
Non-verbal communication
Language and autism
'Small talk'
Children's behaviour
Music and feelings
Spelling problems
Describing children accurately
Sharing books with children
Singing and language

Children’s emotions

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The real ‘Fifth Beatle’? On death and dying and saying ‘Goodbye’

Date posted: Friday 5th September 2014


So It Goes: a play about speaking about the unspeakable, without saying anything

In all my posts I try to say something funny about communication and link everything to classic tunes from the 1960s and 70s. However, I’m not one to make jokes about people dying or the grief that is felt by those left behind. And just for once I’m going to use the post to shamelessly advertise someone else’s work. (more…)

Saudade. Or why it’s good to name your feelings. With help from Aliki, Cristina Branco, Ana Moura and a compassionate school inspector!

Date posted: Friday 25th April 2014


Botticelli’s Primavera: looking and feeling very sad

Saudade: not the same feeling

I shall never forget teaching my class of eight and nine-year-olds, and particularly Sofia, who saved me single-handedly from being judged ‘unsatisfactory’ by an Ofsted school inspector. (more…)

Did you ever wake up with them bullfrogs on your mind? Helping children to understand their emotions and to learn English, with help from Rory Gallagher and Canned Heat!

Date posted: Friday 22nd November 2013

Did you ever wake up with them bullfrogs on your mind?

Bullfrog Blues by Canned Heat (often performed as an encore by Rory Gallagher).

I’ve never woken up thinking about bullfrogs, but I do spend time thinking about some of the experiences I have had teaching other people’s children over the past 30 or so years. Teaching is a very demanding job, but of all the jobs in the whole world it’s probably the one where you can have most influence on children’s lives. And having 30 children thrust together for five days a week, as they grow and try out new things, can sometimes lead to a particular kind of heady intensity developing between them. Teachers know this and develop strategies for helping children get on together. However there are some things that you just can’t bargain for. (more…)

I’m in love with the monkey’s uncle: or the power of music and books to build emotional associations, (with help from The Beach Boys and The Fendertones!)

Date posted: Saturday 11th May 2013

Monkey's Uncle‘I’m in love with the Monkey’s Uncle, and the Monkey’s Uncle’s ape for me. Yeah, yeah. yeah!’ Possibly the worst lyrics of all time? Maybe, but it’s by The Beach Boys and this song has very powerful associations for me. Let’s go back to 1966: The World Cup, the Beatles dominating the world, and me as a nine year-old. (more…)

I’ve got that at home!! The power of sameness for very young children

Date posted: Saturday 23rd March 2013

The ZooI was an August-born boy. Research suggests that many children in England who are born at the end of summer are going to find school difficult, because they will have just turned four. It’s not clear about how starting school at four years of age affects girls, but I’d love to know. I seem to remember that all the children in my first class found school a very strange place, even though they were all older than me. What can be stranger than being told after lunch to sit at your desk, rest your head on your arms and go to sleep for half an hour? Maybe looking up, as I did one afternoon, to see my teacher snoring away along with us. Another afternoon I sneaked open an eyelid to witness her having a fag and blowing the smoke out of the classroom window.