Young Gove July 16

Exit, pursued by a bear

Early yesterday morning Michael Gove, the Education Secretary for England, was officially sacked. OK, officially he was ‘reshuffled’, moved to another job, given opportunities to sustain a high media profile; it was a ‘wrench’ not a demotion. Blah, blah, blah. But, heck, he was given the boot and there is no denying it. Hard. Where […]

SideAveryHall July 09

Alma Mater

When I was 19, I saw a poster in the hallway of the English Department at Warwick University. It was a type of poster I had never seen before: it was smaller than the average A4 poster and it had a block of cards attached to it that you could tear off and send away. […]

Football June 29

Soccer is a Liberal Conspiracy

I am grateful to my friend Peter Smagorinsky for sending me a link to an opinion piece by US columnist Ann Coulter that ties in to the current event that is, I think, called ‘the World Cup’ (whatever that is). You can look Ann up on Wikipedia but if I say ‘slightly to the right of […]

s200_lila.mcdowell June 23

Lila McDowell’s ‘A Delicate Balance’ published

Lila McDowell’s paper ‘A Delicate Balance…’: Language as a Tool of Identity Expression for Incarcerated Men Pursuing Higher Education’ has been published in Changing English: Studies in Reading and Culture. Lila  holds a DPhil and an MSc in Educational Research Methodology, both from the University of Oxford, supervised by myself, Mary Bosworth and Geoffrey Walford. […]

You can see why it is called the Horsetail Falls in this photo June 19

Road Trip 2014: Chasing Waterfalls

Mid-June, I hit the road with D for what is becoming our annual American road trip. In what proved to be the longest day I think I have ever had, I drove to Heathrow, flew to Seattle, picked up a car, drove east to Pullman across the whole of the state of Washington and then went out […]

Guilin June 17

The Guilin Conference: Education Reform and Social Change

The conference in Guilin was fascinating and thrilling. Co-organised by East China Normal University and Guangxi Normal University, its focus was on educational reform in the context of social change. They have both in spades in China and they invited a small group of international speakers to share experiences.Professor Yang Xiaowei, Director of the Institute […]

Blob June 14

UPDATE: The Real ‘Blob’: Ideological Lunacy and Wilful Ignorance

Back at the end of April, the former Schools’ Minister Nick Gibb (Conservative) wrote a piece for The Guardian called ‘Teaching unions aren’t the problem – universities are.’ I missed it at the time as I was on leave but when I returned to work everyone seemed to be talking about it. It’s a fairly standard […]


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