SEEING structure is understanding it – Memory Strategy 4(b) in Anthology Series

Poetry offers us more in less space than any other form of language. Therein lies its appeal but also its challenge. Perhaps the single most powerful thing we can do to promote in learners a sense of mastery is enable them to really see it; help them transform the intensely concentrated language of a poem into much less intimidating visual imagesContinue reading “SEEING structure is understanding it – Memory Strategy 4(b) in Anthology Series”

Poetry pictured. Memory Strategy 4(a) and why Gove was wrong.

Pictures are remembered better than words. Infinitely better. That is simply a fact. Personal experience – remembering a face but forgetting a name – tells us this, but there is no shortage of irrefutable research evidence either. This paper from Grady et al provides a useful summary and of course Tony Buzan, founder of mind-mapping, has written extensively about the superiorContinue reading “Poetry pictured. Memory Strategy 4(a) and why Gove was wrong.”

Top class critical appreciation meets T20 Cricket – Memory Strategy 3, Part 2

“Her eyes twinkled, like the moustache of a man with a cold.” “Their love burned with the fiery intensity of a urinary tract infection.” “She grew on him like she was a colony of E coli and he was room temperature Canadian beef.” These ‘Actual Analogies Used by Students in English Essays’ might not be authentic but theyContinue reading “Top class critical appreciation meets T20 Cricket – Memory Strategy 3, Part 2”

“But I told you this only last lesson, Year 11!” Memory Strategy 3, Part 1

We’ve all been there. Laboured like the sower in Mark’s parable to impart information one lesson only to discover the next that most of our seed fell on stony ground “where it did not have much soil … and whithered away….” (Mark, 4.5) In a bid to experience less of this, I’ve spent the last fewContinue reading ““But I told you this only last lesson, Year 11!” Memory Strategy 3, Part 1″

Promoting #growthmindset, strengthening memory and preparing for the GCSE anthology paper – Strategy 2

I wrote here about why I think that drawing on Booth’s evidence-based ‘Memory Magic’ strategies to teach GCSE anthology poetry is an important idea. Progress 8 means that students of all ability will be entered for English Literature. Further, they will sit a closed book exam. Recall is therefore going to be crucial and Booth’s interventionContinue reading “Promoting #growthmindset, strengthening memory and preparing for the GCSE anthology paper – Strategy 2”

A brain (and SEND) friendly approach to GCSE anthology teaching – Strategy 1

I’ve already written here about why I will be using ‘Memory Magic’ (Booth, 1999) strategies to teach GCSE anthology poetry from September. I’ll have two Y10 classes, one which comprises low attaining and SEND learners. Even if Michael Gove were to pay them, they wouldn’t learn anything about poetry appreciation from listening to a lecture,Continue reading “A brain (and SEND) friendly approach to GCSE anthology teaching – Strategy 1”

Bring on Progress 8 – Literary Magic for All

The new Progress 8 measure surely means that students of all ability will be entered for Literature rather than English only at precisely the same time that the Foundation tier is removed and content is ‘strengthened’. I think this has major implications for inclusive pedagogy. Among other things, we need to consider how learners, who may have memory deficits, will retainContinue reading “Bring on Progress 8 – Literary Magic for All”

Is the Reformed English Literature GCSE legal?

   1st June 2015 Dear Nicky Morgan MP I write to you as both a SEND and English teaching specialist. I am deeply concerned about the new English Literature GCSE because I think it flouts equalities legislation. That is, I think it will not allow SEND and low attaining learners to fully demonstrate their knowledge,Continue reading “Is the Reformed English Literature GCSE legal?”

Rigour or Discrimination? The Reformed GCSEs

A Post Submitted to The Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS)  EASS advice can now be read beneath the post I write as a SENCO, English teacher and senior leader working in an 11-16 high school. It is my firm belief that ‘strengthened’ GCSEs violate the 2010 Equality Act and I seek advice as to whatContinue reading “Rigour or Discrimination? The Reformed GCSEs”

Letter to Ofqual Regarding Flawed New English Literature GCSE

Glenys Stacey, CEO Ofqual Spring Place Herald Avenue Coventry CV5 8BA 22nd February, 2015 Re. 2015 GCSE English Literature Specifications I write to express my deep misgivings about the new English Literature GCSE and in particular the method of assessment, which was not subject to DfE consultation. Having gauged strength of feeling by way ofContinue reading “Letter to Ofqual Regarding Flawed New English Literature GCSE”