From the Sandpit…

Musings on all things education by an ex-pat teaching in Dubai, passionate about professional learning, teaching English, evidence informed practice and collaboration :)

Research Rocks!

DESC Reading groups 2017

DESC English Lecture Series

To prepare our students for their GCSE mock exams each teacher took on responsibility for a particular area and put together a lecture that was delivered to students in our auditorium.

Recordings of the lectures for the AQA GCSE English Language Exam to aid with revision: Continue reading “DESC English Lecture Series”


On Saturday 28th January 2017 English teachers from across Dubai got together at #SPARKenglish to collaborate, explore and share best practice!

A HUGE thank you to Sunmarke school in Dubai for hosting the event and to the staff at DESC and Sunmarke for presenting!


You can find the presentations resources below:

  1. Rachael Edgar DESC- Introduction   lead-co-ordinator-presentation-spark1
  2. Louise Ford DESC- SWEATY spark-sweaty-jan-2017
  3. Gregory Anderson DESC- Analysing context spark-presentation-context-gregory-anderson-28th-january-2017-1
  4. James Cross Sunmarke- Developing speaking and listening through competition competition-in-the-classroom
  5. Rachael Edgar DESC- Get your SWAG on swag-spark
  6. Carol Webb Sunmarke- How to make a learning mat 
  7. Gina Pearson DESC- The importance of reading reading-presentation
  8. Rachael Edgar DESC- #TEAMenglish teamenglish



Collaborative or collective planning absolutely makes sense in large departments delivering a universal curriculum. With the new GCSE English Language in full force this year, the English Department’s planning at DESC has shown that teaching life can be so much easier and lots of fun when you plan together and for each other. A most recent example had a certain synchronicity reflecting the variety of expertise within our department and ability to implement technology effectively in the classroom.

I was charged with planning a lesson for Year 10 on speech writing. As public speaking is a passion, I planned the lesson with great enthusiasm, with a power point to support students on techniques including using rhetorical techniques for impact and the structure of an effective speech. I was happy with the lesson and duly shared it with my colleagues a day before the lesson was due to be delivered.

It was with great pleasure that I opened the power point the next day to discover that it had been adapted, another colleague with expertise and wide ranging experience in teaching debate and public speaking had added 3 brilliant clips of recent political speeches. These clips not only helped to illustrate the teaching points for the student, they also gave recent, effective examples that the students could relate to.

The lesson was duly delivered, with the students responding well to the learning points and enjoying the clips of political leaders using techniques effectively to convey their point of view. In the staffroom, my Head of Department complimented me on the lesson, she had been impressed by the embedded clips – although I was tempted to claim this technological feat as my own, in fact another technically adept colleague had seen the clips pasted into the power point and embedded them for all staff to access easily.

Thus, a perfect lesson, collaboratively planned and enhanced by expertise across the Department – I can’t help but feel quite pleased with what we’re doing and whilst our HOD was congratulating us on a lesson well planned, she has to take the credit for creating a collaborative department where this magic synchronicity happens.


By Sian Davies


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