Gill Robins

Writer & Teacher

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Published Articles: Classic Texts


Following the development of her Contemporary Approaches to Classic Text methodology, Gill published a series of articles in English Four to Eleven, the Primary journal of The English Association and UKLA. See article links below.


Contemporary Approaches to Classic Text: H.G. Wells’ ‘War of the Worlds

Disbelief was suspended as children prepared for the possibility of an alien invasion of their town. Local media, emergency and community services all played a role as a plan was formulated. After exploring our feelings in MSN conversations, we read the book . . .


Contemporary Approaches to Classic Text: Macbeth

The King had won the Lottery and Lady M needed more shoes. So, the King had to die. This was just one of the scenarios created by pupils during their exploration of the themes and characters in The Scottish Play. They built models, they blogged, they painted and they acted. The response? ‘I wasn’t a great fan of Shakespeare, but acting it out in my own language helped me to understand the story.’


Contemporary Approaches to Classic Text: Beowulf

What is the difference between Doctor Who and Beowulf? Hundreds of years and some changes in language. Pupils who explored Beowulf started the project as a class of children and ended as scops and poets who wrote some amazing kennings.

Best Practice in English Teaching

An article,
The effect of exploratory talk on the development of sentence structure in able writers, was published in Literacy, an internationally refereed journal published by the UKLA . This research applied the work of Neil Mercer and the Cambridge University team to a classroom context. In exploratory talk, children learn to explicate their thinking, challenging and building on each other’s thinking in order to extend learning. These skills were then applied to the development of sentence structure, with particular reference to relative clauses. The outcome was surprising – although the principal focus of the study, the able writers were not the only children to discover the power of exploratory talk.


To read the full article follow the link to the Wiley subscription page.

Music & Language

Music and Multimodal Text

There has been an explosion in the publication of picture books for older readers in recent years. They require a different type of reading skill from word-based books, drawing on the ability to ‘read’ the details of images. Resulting from a project with the Schools Library Service, this article details how a group of pupils used music to explore Don’t Read This Book, by Jill Lewis and Deborah Allwright. Find out, in the children’s own words, how this helped them to create new meaning as they used images from the book to compose their own sound track.

In June 2011, the Bew Report: Independent Review of Key Stage 2 testing, assessment and accountability was published. Gill produced a response, written on behalf of The English Association, which details the implications for teachers, school leaders and managers.

Click on the link to read Gill’s article. Bew Response Link