How the book works

More about What, How and Why

  • Follows a long-held conviction that understanding English leads to better use of English.
  • Adapts ideas from car manuals and progressive methods of teaching EFL.
  • Addresses directly the point of view of those who have been let down by school or have let themselves down at school.
  • Acknowledges students’ failures and wariness of adult advice and interference.
  • Engages with both students and helpers using humour and anecdote.
  • Points out important reasons for communicating clearly and accurately: economic, psychological, social and political.
  • Maximises students’ chances of getting things right and then finding the confidence to take the next step.
  • Includes “Essentials” – supplementary material for tutors and for students in a hurry.
  • Aims at independent, educated use of the written language and makes clear the importance of this for life, not just for schools and examinations.

Responses to WHW – discussion and trials with:

  • Four educational charities
  • Two schools
  • A military prison
  • Four school “failures”
  • Several teachers
  • A mother and son

School “failures” speak of:

  • An imaginary classroom where there are no bullies or disruptives, but where much encouragement is provided.
  • A positive authorial presence.
  • Anecdotes and self-deprecating humour that encourage perseverance.
  • The variety of ways shown by which they can improve their writing.
  • A mother leading the way, teaching herself and helping her son.

Educational charities etc. responded as follows:

  • Very entertaining – clearly a great idea. (Plain English Campaign)
  • A keenness to review the book once there is a publication date. (Education Otherwise)
  • An interest in using the material to train volunteer tutors. (Urban Academy – KidsCompany)
  • American colleagues who assure me that America would accept

Extent – 80,000 words approx.

What, How and Why –
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