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Creative Teaching & Learning

Volume 1.2

Creative Teaching & Learning Volume 1.2

Engaging hearts and minds

A cross-curricular pack on a thematic approach to teaching literacy

The secret life of images How children can learn to de-code the messages conveyed by images

G Of reat Re ste vie d ws

SALLEY “Children make significant gains in phonological awareness”

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Structured Activities for Language and Literacy in the Early Years SALLEY is a complete multisensory package to prepare nursery-aged children for the demands of the Primary Framework for literacy. The SALLEY programme can be used by any Early Years practitioner, with groups or individuals. Children are taught how to rhyme and sequence sounds using fun games to develop their auditory memory skills. SALLEY is both a prevention and intervention programme designed to teach the phonological awareness skills that are so fundamental to the development of reading and spelling. With SALLEY it is also possible to identify children at risk of dyslexia at a very young age. It has been widely trialled in nursery and reception classes. SALLEY is fun, multisensory, uses pure phonics, involves differentiated and errorless learning so all children can take part.

LEAs give SALLEY their seal of approval Shropshire, Barnsley, Buckinghamshire, Sandwell, Dudley and Hereford & Worcester are just a few who have purchased SALLEY for their schools.

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29/1/10 2:47:38 pm


A Tale of Two Quangos So farewell then BECTA! You spent a lot of our money Failing to get schools to love VLEs Will Culture, Creativity and Education, The Quango formerly know as Creative Partnerships, Follow you Down that bourne from whence no quango ever returns? And here is another political question. Do we care? EJ Thribb, KS 1-4. Well, to attempt an answer, the two quangos cannot be simply equated as high spending bureaucracies that have had little impact on schools. BECTA, it could be argued, had a largely negative influence on schools by promoting a supplier-led strategy that induced schools to spend vast amounts of theirs and government money on kit that often gathered dust and rust in the store-room cupboard. Its promotion of large corporates like RM, which in the early days seemed to get every large contract going, tied schools into punitive proprietorial hardware and software contracts, which in turn meant large amounts of money flowed out of schools unnecessarily as cheaper hardware and more exciting software solutions passed them by. A good example of this was the refusal of BECTA to fully embrace Free Open Source Software which could save schools tens if not hundreds of thousands on software licences. By its continual sponsoring of big corporates …not unlike itself in

Volume 1.1 n Creative Teaching & Learning

demeanour and culture.. it took responsibility out of schools’ hands on how to respond to the new emerging technologies and they grew largely passive as a result. It also killed stone dead the burgeoning educational software industry in the UK where the real interface between creative teaching and technology really resided. Their size meant they were beneath BECTA’s contempt. Its corporatist approach also meant the drive towards linking schools up to the internet was bogged down in ludricously bureaucratic Regional Broadband Consortia which, like Building Schools of The Future, had contracts and bidding systems so expensive that only the richest companies (or those that had the deepest entertainment budgets) could ever get a look in. In starting at the level of supplying regions and schools with systems and kit and networks, Becta blew billions on an approach which has failed to touch teachers in the classrooms or in the way they practised their craft. The one exception to this might be the ubiquitous Whiteboard. After more billions were thrown at schools to buy them, BECTA suppressed a research report which said that they did nothing to enhance learning in and of themselves and were entirely dependent on the quality of teaching, but at least it was a classroom tool teachers could use to add a little interest to their lessons. Culture, Creativity and Education has a much more direct classroom focus and sees its job in providing some cash and expertise support to drive a different approach to teaching and learning: one that is much more ‘creative’ and energising. It employs small groups of creative agents around the country (managed by a not insignificant regional bureaucracy) to support staff in developing creative projects that are a welcome antidote to the tedium and prescription found in the national

strategies and SATs based teaching and learning. But it operated with an arts and culture notion of creativity and initially assumed that exposing children to creative experiences and artistic opportunities would somehow have an impact on their learning. It was aimed at the classroom, but its leader, its culture and its agents came from outside education, from the arts world. The arts and education worlds colliding and creating something special out of the collision is an interesting idea. But it has been very hit and miss. Educationally untrained arty types going into schools and devising creative projects could be stimulating, and fun, and even, indirectly, educational, but it is expensive (CCE spends £40 million a year on this) and is unsustainable. Once the project is gone, often nothing is left in the educational practice which continues in the school, and for the pupils, they are left with little in the way of transferable skills they can use in their future school work. Where it does work is when the school has a clear educational vision of what creativity means - as a set of thinking skills and practices which can bring new abilities to children to organise and use information and ideas in ways they had not done before, and to find solutions to problems and issues that would have been inaccessible before. Set within this pre-determined educational context creative agents and CCE can help schools transform their practice. In the articles ‘Establishing The Creative Curriculum’ and ‘The Gadget Show Project’, schools used CCE support in this way and have experienced enormous benefits. If CCE was run on this more sustainable basis, and it has been moving in this direction, and if its users had a much greater say in its management, then we should give it a Roman thumbs up. As for BECTA …good riddance.

Contents Volume 1.2

10 01 Editorial

A Tale of Two Quangos

06 Climate change challenge

Clinton Golding explains how to get students thinking about thinking.

15 Learning from school buildings

Pippa Smith explains how school buildings can be a resource for studying the past – and can provide a starting point for crosscurricular projects.

04 News

The latest in creative teaching.

18 Explore to be creative

An award-winning environmental project has inspired primary school pupils. Simon Horleston reports.

10 Thinking with Rich Concepts

32 Getting out into the real world is a massive opportunity for learning. Daniel Raven-Ellison describes two ways of framing explorative enquiry.

22 What is a ‘Thinking School’?

Bob Burden gives clear advice on successfully introducing a cognitive curriculum.

28 Establishing the creative curriculum:

Catrin Parry-Jones describes the challenges –and rewards – of becoming a School of Creativity. 

32 Using dramatic enquiry to explore controversies in science Becoming scientifically literate is now a key specification for GCSE science students. Neil Phillipson and Gordon Poad describe how a dramatic enquiry project brought this requirement to life.

41 The gadget show project

This report highlights the importance of risk-taking in enabling children to become confident and successful learners.

56 The secret life of images

Tony Hurlin outlines key principles of teaching critical thinking through images, and describes a practical application of these principles.

Creative Teaching & Learning n Volume 1.2



Cross curriculum project pLAN

Engaging hearts

e-learning 45 Friend or Foe?

The dangers of mobile phones – and their potential benefits as learning tools.

46 Twitter and Teaching:

and minds:

How Twitter can be highly useful for both students and staff.

48 Working in a classroom without walls

A rural school collaborates with schools in Singapore and Brunei in a virtual learning project. Jan Webb reports.

52 Integrating digital literacy into the classroom:

Technology should be embedded into subject teaching, not just bolted on, say Cassie Hague and Sarah Payton.

Ellen Lloyd describes an alternative to the literacy hour based on a thematic approach which actually engages children.


Editorial Office EDITOR Howard Sharron PRODUCTION EDITOR Linda Anderson DESIGN MANAGER Devinder Sonsana DESIGN Yunus Motala and Dewang Patel MARKETING Gay Hardicker EDITORIAL BOARD Vivienne Baumfield, Roger Sutcliffe

Volume 1.2 n Creative Teaching & Learning

Bob Burden, Robert Fisher Graham Handscomb, Patrick Costello Mike Lake, Karin Murris, Alan Edmiston Steve Higgins, Sue Eagle ADVERTISING 0121 224 7599 Creative Teaching & Learning is published by Imaginative Minds, 215 - 219 The Green House, Gibb Street, Birmingham, B9 4AA Tel: 0121 224 7599 Fax: 0121 224 7598 Email:

Š Imaginative Minds 2010 ISSN 2043-7277 No part of this publication may be reproduced, copied or transmitted in any form or by any means without the express permission of the publisher. Creative Teaching & Learning is an independent magazine. The views expressed in signed articles do not necessarily represent those of the magazine. The magazine cannot accept any responsibility for products and services advertised within it. Printed in the UK by Advent Print Group

N e w s

New research reveals more young people own a mobile phone than a book


ew findings published on Wednesday 2 June from the National Literacy Trust reveal that 86% of young people in the UK own a mobile phone, while only 73% have books of their own. The findings support the National Literacy Trust’s new campaign, Tell Me A Story, to promote family reading and sharing stories. The National Literacy Trust’s study of over 17,000 young people reveals a strong link between both young people’s reading ability and access to books at home and Tell Me a Story aims to raise awareness of the need for families to support children’s literacy in the home. To support the campaign’s launch, the National Literacy Trust is calling on families to spend 10 minutes reading with the children in their life. With more young people in the UK owning a mobile phone than a book, results from the new National Literacy Trust research highlight the crucial importance of books in the home: ● 80% of children who read above the expected level for their age have

books of their own; while only 58% who read below their expected level have books of their own. ● 93% of young people who have books of their own believe reading is important to succeed in life compared to just 80% of those who don’t have books of their own. Director of the National Literacy Trust Jonathan Douglas says: “Our research illustrates the clear link with literacy resources at home and a child’s reading ability. By ensuring

children have access to reading materials in the home families can help them to do well at school and to enjoy opportunities throughout their life. “That is why we are launching the Tell Me a Story campaign to raise awareness of the importance of having a literacy-rich home environment. One in six children in the UK will grow up without the literacy skills they need to fulfil their potential. We are campaigning to change this. “We have teamed up with National Family Week to call on everyone to support Tell Me a Story by pledging to read a story for 10 minutes with the child in their life – whether it’s their son, daughter, grandchild, niece or nephew.” To find out more and get involved with the National Literacy Trust’s Tell Me a Story campaign visitwww. tellmeastory

International Year of Biodiversity: Newshounds sought


he Young Darwin Prize, announced on 22nd May, will challenge 7-14 year olds to produce news reports on local biodiversity projects they are personally involved with or support. The winners could be covering their school or group’s work to encourage wildlife into their wildlife reserve. The prize in each category for the most engaging and informative video reports is £500 to visit a local biodiversity site.The competition will be judged by a panel of experts, and the winners announced at an event at the National History museum in October 2010. The then Natural Environment

Minister, Richard Benyon said: “We rely on the natural world for so much. The Young Darwin Prize offers a fantastic opportunity for young people to show us exactly what they are doing to improve the UK’s wildlife and be involved in the International Year of Biodiversity. “Charles Darwin’s work has inspired the prize and his strength wasn’t just research; it was how he communicated his ideas that led to his success and influence. The Young Darwin Prize offers a fantastic opportunity for young people to communicate their scientific understanding and enthusiasm for

conservation. This competition aims to provide a real purpose for children and teenagers to engage with the science curriculum; in particular scientific enquiry objectives at primary level and How Science Works at secondary level.” The Young Darwin Prize is open to schoolchildren and community groups in England in school years 3-9.The entries will be in two categories: Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3. Groups of up to 10 children can submit a short video, no longer than two and a half minutes. For more information, contact Marie Clements: 020 7238 5334 or email

Creative Teaching & Learning n Volume 1.2

A Journey into children’s

minds PRICE £29.95 INC VAT

An introduction to ‘Philosophy for Children’ through the eyes of pupils at schools in Swansea and Cardiff This DVD is about children, teachers and schools and how they learn to think together. This DVD is an introduction to Philosophy for Children through the eyes of children in ten schools in Swansea and Cardiff. What do the children say about philosophy? ‘Philosophy is like going to a disco, except your mind dances instead of your feet.’ ‘It’s like a dive into a whole new world.’ ‘You can go to places you can’t go in reality.’ But most of all, this DVD presents the voices of children who tell us what philosophy means to them. We hope you enjoy the film and are inspired to take up Philosophy for Children in your school.

A Journey into Children’s Minds presents the voices of children who tell us what philosophy means to them.

Commissioned by Dr Sue Lyle, Swansea Metropolitan University Supported by the General Teaching Council for Wales and Swansea Met.

To order call: 0121 224 7599 or Fax orders: 0121 224 7598

Myself as a learner scale By Robert Burden Just reprinted by Imaginative Minds – one of the most acclaimed self-perception tests ever produced! Myself as a Learner Scale develops the use of pupil participation in their own learning and in general fits into the whole ‘pupil voice’ context, helping pupils to devise their own learning programmes and in that respect helping with their personalised learning.

PRICE £40.00

A short, effective measure of pupils’ perceptions of their abilities and approaches to learning. In its evaluation of pupils’ concepts of themselves as thinkers and learners, it identifies areas where individuals need more help. The scale is a 20-question test that is quick and easy to administer. Young people’s perceptions of themselves as learners and problem-solvers have been shown in numerous research studies to be a key element in their learning progress. MALS has been constructed to provide a readily available technique, which can be used by teachers, psychologists and researchers to gain access to this important aspect of learning development. MALS is easy to administer, score and interpret and can be used for gaining information on large cohorts of students or for more clinical purposes with individuals. It is a valid and reliable scale that can provide a valuable addition to any school’s assessment programme or educational psychologist’s repertoire of assessment techniques. The pack contains a user guide, a photocopiable questionnaire and a scoring overlay.

The Author Robert Burden is Professor of Applied Educational Psychology and former Head of the School of Education at Exeter University.

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8/6/10 16:05:00

Cross Curriculum

Climate change challenge

Year 6 pupils from Howe Dell have helped to create the largest new native forest in England

Simon Horleston recounts how pupils were enthused into taking responsibility for their world - and how significant learning progress took place as a result.


limate Change Challenge was a project designed for upper KS2 pupils, and takes advantage of the school’s unique environmental curriculum and focus. Pupils used different forms of ICT to communicate their learning to others. It is a creative, cross curriculum project that uses ICT to inspire learning about the environment. The detailed and intricate project took shape by carrying out six stages of learning (research, storywriting, stop-motion-animations, evaluation, spreading the message and taking responsibility) which empowered the class in Hatfield to believe in their learning, share their learning and act on their learning.

History of the School Howe Dell Primary School in Hertfordshire started in 1955 in a Tudor building that dates back over 400 years. Unfortunately, the building, which stood through the reign of every Monarch since Henry VIII, began to fall apart, as well as the School itself struggling with poor behaviour and achievement. In contrast, today it is a successful school under the leadership of Head Teacher Mrs Debra Massey, now occupying a new eco-building housing a modern learning community. However, it is important to emphasise that the Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) Curriculum and

Creative Teaching & Learning n Volume 1.2

Cross Curriculum

award winning project implemented at Howe Dell, is not dependent on a glorious building and can be achieved anywhere with a vision for developing learners.

Class dynamics The project was with a class in which historically the girls were passive, there were boys who had behavioural difficulties and there were children with Special Educational Needs. However as a result of four years of teaching at a high standard, combined with creative projects such as this one, the girls are now active in their learning and the boys are motivated to learn, as well as the whole class making significant progress in their learning.

local / global environmental issue to research and build a project around. As a result of giving the class freedom to choose their own topics, the children owned their projects and this inspired them to do extra work at home. Howe Dell’s Education for Sustainable Development Curriculum builds on the four Rs: reduce, reuse, repair and recycle, as well as the seven key concepts of ESD which are: citizenship and stewardship, sustainable change, needs and rights of future generations, interdependence, diversity, uncertainty and precaution, and, finally, quality of life, equality and justice. Once each group had conducted their research, they were ready to create their story with a message about Climate Change, but before they could create their stop-motion-animation they had to map their own learning against the ESD concepts and produce the writing that proved they were ready for the next stage. In terms of relevant uses of ICT which enhanced the learning experience, the LogIt Explorers enabled the class to apply their understanding of their own school to the

Using Technology to empower others - The pupils completed a fun quiz using the new Senteo voting system!

Mechanics of Climate Change Challenge Whilst the project has received accolades for the animations that were produced, and more recently Microsoft Innovative Teaching awards at both National and European level, the project evolved quite naturally with only one motivation: to inspire the children in their learning through a Creative Curriculum. The central question for the project was: ‘Globally our climate is changing, but how is this happening and what is its impact?’ Throughout the whole project a variety of essential ingredients were imperative for success: listening to the pupil voice, commitment to the ESD Curriculum and relevant uses of ICT. As a school we are fortunate to have spectacular features such as solar panels, a wind turbine and our own wetland area which is integrated into the school site. However, it was the children who suggested a project to learn about local and global environmental issues through the school’s whole school pupil forum and the regularly used suggestion box. Once the concept of the project was born and the children were put into mixed ability groups with both genders working together, they guided the direction of their own project within a project. Each group had the same learning objectives and the same key skills being taught, but they each independently, chose their own

Volume 1.2 n Creative Teaching & Learning

Creating Eco Animations - Children at Howe Dell Primary creating backgrounds and using digital blue movie cameras to bring animations to life.

climate conditions around the world by recording the levels of light and temperature in different rooms in the same building and then analysing the reasons for notable differences. Digital Movie cameras motivated the children to bring their Eco Messages alive and create a professional finish so that they were then able to share their learning outside of the school. Senteo Clickers (voting pads) gave the children the confidence to evaluate their project and their overall learning honestly, which then provided them with lots of data to analyse and communicate to others through a variety of presentation techniques. Using the variety of technology not only extended the gifted and talented, but also supported those that struggle with their learning, and this helped to develop an inclusive approach to learning.

Cross Curriculum

The array of technology used communicated to the class a belief in their capabilities and established a sense of responsibility, due to the cost of the equipment and the high expectations that were set. Once the work was complete the final product looked professional and the children felt rightfully proud of their achievements. Key topics researched: ● Deforestation (destruction of habitats, demand for housing) ● Flooding (temperatures increasing, water levels rising) ● Pollution (car pollution, sources of energy) ● Landfills (global warming, toxic gases)

Creative learning – not just a phrase! Key skills were developed in Literacy, Maths, ICT, Science, Geography, Art and PSHCE. Similar to the Game Based Learning concept taken to the Microsoft Worldwide Innovative Education Forum by Ollie Bray in 2009, what was integral to the success of this creative project was a structure and a purpose, otherwise learning and progress would not have been achieved. Creative learning is not just a phrase, but does come in a variety of shapes and sizes - this is how we developed our creative project: Literacy – Children were inspired to talk to one another about their learning and develop their planning skills, story writing skills and evaluative skills. These are skills that are normal to the everyday curriculum, but what made a difference was them knowing that they would be central to creating a successful stop-motion-animation. One could not be achieved without the other! Maths – Handling data was a key area that needed developing and through this project it has now become a key strength. Understanding different climate conditions can be quite abstract without experience of them, and therefore using LogIT Explorers to compare the differences in temperatures and levels of light throughout the school provided meaningful data to analyse. Understanding the impact of using non-renewable sources of energy was enhanced by using Smart Metering, through www. This provided the children with the opportunity to understand how we can save electricity, by analysing data - which was a factual record of the school’s own usage of electricity. Exploring line graphs, which compared electricity usage throughout the day, the children were able to understand the changes of usage throughout the day by looking at how the levels differed during lunchtimes and outside of school hours. ICT – This was taken to the next level! Although it built on the existing National Curriculum framework for ICT: finding things out, developing ideas and making things happen, exchanging and sharing information, and reviewing, modifying and evaluating work as it progresses. We did this away from the traditional schemes of work. Success in the achievement of the key skills in ICT empowered the class to show others in the school how to use certain ICT devices.

Changemakers Conference: setting up a stall so that the children could share their learning with Schools from all over the world!

Science –Projects that were developed by the children had a focus on ecosystems and the impact of pollution or destruction of habitats. Geography – Knowledge and understanding of environmental changes and sustainable development was a central theme for all projects that were created by the children. Through the children’s independent research, story writing, animations and evaluation of their own projects a good understanding of how people can improve the environment and how decisions about the environment affect the future quality of people’s lives was well established. Art – In creating posters to publicise their eco-message and their stop-motion-animation, as well as creating their own background for their animations, the class explored combining different textiles for different purposes. PSHCE – Having such a topical theme as ‘Climate Change’ was a great opportunity to discuss our roles as citizens and to communicate our views on issues that affect ourselves and society

Spreading the message and taking responsibility Once the project was complete, it was important that what was learnt wasn’t just forgotten. Therefore due to the relevance and importance of the key messages established, the work was shared outside of the School community by: ● Sharing Assemblies at Howe Dell. ● Head Teachers’ Conference at Howe Dell on Education for

Sustainable Development. ● International Climate Change Conference with

representatives from the UK, India and Kenya. Such was the impact on the children themselves that as a class they have taken part in a tree planting initiative that was organised by the National Trust to create the largest new native forest in England. Furthermore, because of their awareness of the differences in the quality of life in different communities, the class are sponsoring a child in India to receive an education by arranging fundraising events at school.

Creative Teaching & Learning n Volume 1.2

Cross Curriculum

● Boys with behavioural difficulties are motivated to learn. ● Increased levels of independence observed. ● Development of social skills observed when working in

small groups. ● Significant achievements in writing skills made

throughout whole class. ● Best attendance throughout the whole school. ● 97% stated that their knowledge had increased due to

the project. ● 93% felt inspired to write as a result of the project. ● Profile of class has changed beyond recognition.

Further details:

Students from Howe Dell are invited to the Houses of Parliament

At Howe Dell the children that took part in the Climate Change Challenge know and believe that you can make a difference if you put your mind to it, but it’s not good enough to just tell others about it, everyone must take responsibility.

Impact of the Project ● Passive girls given a voice and are active in their

For the full overview of Climate Change Challenge you can download the Virtual Classroom Tour, by visiting and searching for uk_simon_horleston_climate_change_challenge. A sample of the animations and other supporting documents can be viewed at: browse.aspx/.Public Simon Horleston is a Year 6 teacher at Howe Dell Primary School.


Volume 1.2 n Creative Teaching & Learning

Critical Thinking


e often want our students to actively process, evaluate, synthesise and apply information so they can understand what they are learning and make thoughtful and creative products and judgements. But they can also resist thinking. “Just tell us the answer,” they complain. What we need is thinking treasure that is alluring enough to engage their thinking and complex enough to require it. Yet finding something appropriate for our students can be difficult and time-consuming. And helping them to keep on track as they hunt for this treasure can be even more difficult. The following is a thinking treasure that your students will love to explore, and a series of strategies that will make sure their exploration is discerning and productive.

1. Warm up their thinking with some concrete examples related to thinking. Have each of your students share their responses to some of the following: ● Do you think in words or pictures or something else? ● Do you see or hear your thoughts, or something else? ● What are your favourite types of thinking (dreaming,

hoping, remembering, believing, knowing, imagining, wondering, solving, wishing, comparing, organising . . . )? ● What are your least favourite types of thinking? 2. Next, have your students respond to some of the following statements. Encourage them to draw on the examples they just shared: ● Everyone can think

Thinking with rich concepts Clinton Golding explains how to get students thinking about thinking


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Critical thinking

● Your thoughts are completely your own ● Action is more important than thought ● Have them respond in one of these four ways.

These will help to keep their exploration rigorous: ● I agree because … ● I disagree because … ● I partly agree and partly disagree because … ● I need some more time to think because …

3. Have an open discussion about some of the following questions. None of them can be properly answered by an experiment, survey, reading a book, doing a calculation, or talking to an expert. Nor are they meant to be completely open questions where one answer is as good as any other and you are invited to be as creative as possible. With these questions, some answers are better than others depending on how well reasoned they are. Thought and discussion is required to get the better answers. You can choose a few questions for the students to discuss, or even better, ask them to select the questions that they want to explore, because the questions will only engage their thinking if they are treasure that the students want to unearth. Feel free to introduce other questions where it is useful for the students, but do not introduce them just because you like them. Introduce a new question only when exploring it will help the students to further their own line of inquiry.

What are thoughts? Where are our thoughts? Where do thoughts come from? Can you control your thoughts? Can you share your thoughts? Can you have the same thought as someone else? Can you steal thoughts? Are thoughts real?

Thinking about the meaning of concepts What does it mean ‘to think’? Is there an opposite to ‘thinking’? If so, what is it?

Thinking about our experience What is it like when we are thinking? How do we experience our thoughts?

Thinking about explanations What is thinking for? How do we think?

When discussing these questions have students think together

Thinking about ethics and values Are some types of thinking better than others? Are some thoughts better than others? Are some ways of thinking better than others? What type of thinking is most important? What type of thinking is most useful? Thinking about implications What if we couldn’t think? What if you couldn’t do a particular type of thinking (you choose the type)? What is the connection between thinking and acting? What is the connection between thinking and feeling? What is the connection between thinking, believing and knowing? Thinking about what we know and how we know How do you know what you are thinking? Can you know what someone else is thinking? Thinking about essence

Volume 1.2 n Creative Teaching & Learning

These questions should be discussed as a ‘community of inquiry.’ Students should think together to try to answer the questions in an idea-centred discussion (not teacher or student-centred). Students suggest their ideas and thoughtfully respond to the ideas of other students (rather than to what the teacher says or thinks, or as a mere stream-of-consciousness association). The aim is to help each other to make progress developing better and better answers to the questions rather than to win an argument or merely state their opinion. The teacher’s job is to help students to think through the ideas rather than to get them to any particular answer or position. You should avoid pre-decided outcomes where you lead students to the ideas, interpretations, distinctions and reasons you want them to have. This would direct their thinking and have them play the game ‘guess what teacher wants me to think’ rather than allowing them to think for themselves. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with what they are saying, encourage them to explore reasons for and against different ideas before making a reasoned judgement about which is better.


Critical Thinking

A community of inquiry works best when the students are in a circle where they can see the face of every other student and when they follow a few rules related to respect for the ideas of others:

CLARITY & PRECISION What does … mean?

● One person talks at a time ● Listen to and consider what others say ● Respectful agreement and challenging is required ● Making fun of others, or putting down their ideas, is

To have our students thinking rigorously about a topic we can encourage them to say the things that good thinkers say (and which poor thinkers rarely say). Encourage your students to respond to what is said using some of the following phrases, as well as agreeing and disagreeing as they did at the start:


When discussing these questions ask thoughtencouraging questions Instead of giving your opinion or helping your students to get to the outcomes you think are best, deliberately encourage further thinking by asking thought-encouraging questions. Listen carefully to what your students are saying and then ask one of the following questions to the person who just spoke or to the rest of the class (replacing the … with the exact words the student used):

When discussing these questions have students respond using ‘thinking behaviours’

DEPTH To explain that further … If … is true, that tells us … REASONING I think … because … A reason for that is … A reason against that is …

REASONING Why might someone think …? What might someone say if they disagreed with …?

RELEVANCE & IMPORTANCE The most important point is … … helps us because …

DEPTH Could you explain some more about …? If … is true, what else would follow?

CLARITY & PRECISION I think … means …

RELEVANCE & IMPORTANCE How does … help us answer our question? What is the main point you want to make?

Often after discussing thinking questions like these, students are left more puzzled than they were before. They are now confronted with multiple viewpoints and probably have more questions than answers. Realising that things are more complex than we first thought is thinking progress, but it is also important that students have a chance to summarise all they have heard and thought into a tentative conclusion (that could be revised with further reflection). At the end of one or several sessions discussing these questions, have students finish one of the following sentences:

Making progress

● My conclusion about thinking is … ● Thinking is like …

Also you could have students draw a picture of thinking. They should draw a picture of thinking itself, rather than a picture of someone who is thinking. This is similar to how we use a heart to draw love or a blind-folded woman with a sword and scales to illustrate justice. The picture can involve words and symbols and is not intended to be a finished piece of art. Clinton Golding is a Senior Lecturer in Higher Education at Melbourne Graduate School of Education. He is the author of a number of books and articles on crititcal thinking and philosophy for children.


Creative Teaching & Learning n Volume 1.2

Make an immediate difference to teaching and learning in your school. Start Thinking will bring enjoyment, creativity and challenge to your classroom and improve the thinking skills of your Inspiring education often grows from simple routines. When teachers at Westbury Park School in Bristol wanted to challenge their pupils to think, enquire and reach beyond standard expectations, they introduced daily thinking-skills starters. These mini-challenges had built-in requirements for pupils to exercise their minds through essential thinking processes such as questioning, comparing, prioritizing, recognising patterns and thinking methodically. The teachers were amazed at how much children enjoyed the starters and benefited from them. Some children turned starters into projects lasting months – all completed in their own time. Children seemed to grow in confidence, persistence and enthusiasm for learning. Start Thinking collects more than 90 thinking-skills starters, tried and tested by teachers at Westbury Park School. The starters are arranged into chapters on Words, Numbers, Science, Creativity and Philosophy so you can easily choose the most appropriate challenges for your pupils. Detailed guidance notes are provided. ‘They make me feel relaxed for the rest of the day and they switch my brain on. They never stop!’ James (Age 10), Westbury Park School

Marcelo Staricoff and Alan Rees

Suitable for KS1-2 £22.99 ISBN: 9781904806028 ‘The ideas in Start Thinking are exactly the kinds of activities that suit gifted and talented children. They can be done with all the class and create a magical mix of challenge and fun’ Professor Deborah Eyre, Director, National Academy for Gifted and Talented Youth

‘Our school has found using thinking-skills starters a highly enjoyable way to challenge our pupils to think, both at the beginning of the day and in any given lesson. I leapt in to using thinking-skills starters and have never looked back.’ Rosie Chitty, Key Stage 2 Teacher at Hutton Primary School, North Somerset

‘A host of creative ideas that could be used by any teacher’ Robert Fisher, Professor of Education, Brunel University

Order Start Thinking from our order hotline Tel: 0121 224 7599 Fax: 0212 224 7598 Westbury Park pupils work on their starters

Imaginative Minds Ltd, 215 The Greenhouse, Gibb Street, Birmingham B9 4AA New Start Thinking A4 ad.indd 1

29/1/10 2:52:33 pm

Teaching as storytelling


A major KS2/3 cross curriculum project to promote children’s communication, thinking and ICT skills with strong emphasis on literacy, geography, science and the environment, history and global citizenship

Introducing the Arctic Stories Project


Price £60.00


The pack includes the following: ● Teacher’s notes with detailed guidance for teachers ● DVD of specially recorded stories ● Powerpoint presentation and additional activity sheets ● Set of photocopiable masters to support many of the activities ● Full-colour culturegram depicting Arctic life (2 copies) ● 5 story books, ‘the Gifts of Kaila’ ● Set of animal cards.

Teachers’ Handbook

A thematic approach to the curriculum for children age 9-12 By Sue Lyle and Maggy Roberts

Photocopy masters

What’s included in the pack


rctic Stories consists of three parts, each of which tells stories which unfold to give children a deep understanding of life in the Arctic, past and present. The activities can form the basis of a cross-curricular or subject-based approach in Geography and Science, with links to History, Global Citizenship and Sustainable Development. The pack is designed to develop active and experiential learning. Children explore ideas and discuss issues to develop their understanding of the world. The pack develops thinking and communication skills. Each of the three parts has important ICT components to build children’s ICT capacity. Drama plays an important role in building speaking and listening skills and to develop empathy. Many of the activities require children to work collaboratively in pairs or groups, where they are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and that of others.

To order call 0121 224 7599 or Fax 0121 224 7598 Arctic Stories A4 Ad2.indd 1

10/6/10 13:10:24

Museum Based Learning

Learning from school buildings Pippa Smith explains how school buildings can provide a starting point for studying the past - and for a wealth of cross-curricular projects.

Woodlands School, Coventry, West Midlands. The Main Block at Woodlands School was built in 1952-57 by the City Architects DepartmentÂ


chool buildings are a resource that most of the school age population in this country can access and learning to decode the social history of an area from the physical remains of a school can be a great introduction to using the built environment for teaching and learning. Records associated with schools can add a further dimension and interviewing former pupils brings things really up to date.

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To support teachers wanting to develop this kind of local study English Heritage Education Manager (National Monuments Record) Mary Mills has prepared activities and information on the website Heritage Explorer. Heritage Explorer is a website aimed at teachers and learners. It gives access to thousands of images from English Heritage’s archives which are searchable by place and theme and can be used free


Museum Based Learning

of charge. It also has teaching activities, ready made lessons for interactive whiteboards and information on all types of archive sources, where to find them and how to use them in the classroom. These pages provide information about the history of schools, give a collection of photographic examples and take you through the stages of researching your school: Image by Theme: Schools imagebytheme.aspx?ctid=91 How to trace the history of a school howtoguidesdetail.aspx?crit=&ctid=45&id=7975 Teacher Notes: A brief History of Schools worddocumentsdetail.aspx?crit=&ctid=79&id=7984

Smithdon School, Kings Lynn Road, Hunstanton, Norfolk. This Secondary school was built in 1950-54. It was designed by Alison and Peter Smithson in a Brutalist style of architecture.

How to use School log books howtoguidesdetail.aspx?crit=&ctid=45&id=7970 How to use school admission registers howtoguidesdetail.aspx?crit=&ctid=45&id=7974

Working with the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), a second resource brings us to the present and looks at the teaching and learning potential of new and planned schools: art74944 Both resources have been provided to coincide with the publication of a new title in the ‘Informed Conservation’ series, ‘England’s Schools – History, architecture and adaptation’ by Elain Harwood which aims to raise awareness of the wide range of school buildings built in England, discusses the social context of schools and looks at the adaptation of older schools to modern needs and new uses for schools around the country. As part of our aim to support teachers and learners to value, care for, understand and enjoy the historic built environment these resources were provided as a starting point to show the wealth of resources on everyone’s doorstep.

What the building can teach So what can your class gain from studying their own school? For a start, teaching pupils to really LOOK at a building will help them develop skills which will be invaluable when visiting other historic sites. What we’re looking at is the search for evidence that can be


The school was built as the Ditchling Road Board School in 1890 to the designs of Thomas Simpson for the School Board of Brighton

pieced together to create an accurate picture of the past. Secondly, as in any study of a building – grand, small, ancient or modern – you have a genuinely cross curricular project. Observational skills, recording skills and drawing inferences from such are also vital in not just history but science, art, geography and many other curriculum areas. Start by walking around the school building and looking at it. What materials have been used in building it? Is it all one sort of, or a mish-mash of, different materials? If the latter, does this mean that an original small building has been extended? Is the stone local and can it be seen in other local buildings? Do any of the bricks have manufacturer names/locations on them? Is

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the wood softwood (newer) or hardwood (older or just more expensive)? What shape are the windows? How high are they? Do any of them contain ‘old’ handmade glass? Are they intended to let light in or are they set so high that pupils can’t see out? You could introduce maths here by drawing a scale plan of the building. Add an elevation and you can include trigonometry. You could identify different building material and try and work out which may be the oldest part of the school and which the most recent. You can download a pdf of ‘A Teacher’s Guide to using school building’ which contains further information about different architectural styles and features you may see around your school: Looking for clues and linking them to human activity will also start to bring school history to life. Do the doors say ‘boys and girls’? What does this tell you about the way teaching was organised? Can you spot new additions to the building? What does this tell you about population growth in the area? If it’s a secondary school- can you see any evidence that the school name may have changed? Was it once a grammar school? Has the function of rooms changed? Can you spot any new partitions dividing up classrooms into smaller units? What might this tell you about the way groups are taught now? The Heritage Explorer resource (especially the ‘how to’ guide) will give you more information about sources to help you with a study: log books, registers, and other documents are often available and looking for more recent memories of a school will broaden out a project. A local study of this sort will enable your pupils to understand the complexity and value of a piece of historical research. Studying their own schools starts with something so familiar to them that they probably don’t often look at it. Encouraging their observational and recording skills, linking buildings with human lives and activity in the past - and challenging them to interpret and understand this gives them a chance to develop their skills of historical enquiry that a classroom based activity often doesn’t provide. Add desk based work to this by looking at primary sources and challenge your pupils to present their findings in an informative and accessible manner and you have the makings of some genuine historians in your classroom. Extend their skills by visiting a local heritage site looking for evidence of the chronology of change and development. For further information about English Heritage and our education programmes, visit our website Pre booked learning groups are welcomed free of charge to all English Heritage properties.

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Outdoor Learning

Explore to be creative Daniel Raven-Ellison explains how we can capture the learning that takes place when students are travelling.


or staff and students alike schools can be (un)safe, (un)creative, (un)original, (un)imaginative, (un)risky, (un)experienced and (un)free. The balance of each of these binaries varies dramatically between all schools, but getting right the mix can greatly support creativity. The reality is that the various pressures on schools to hit targets (such as exams), fulfil policies (like rarely doing cover) and conform to expectations can limit how creative schools can be.


Space for learning through creative explorations In my view, walls and timetables, or at least those who manage them, can be a big problem. Walls physically limit our space to teach and learn, while timetables restrict our time and flexibility. Walls block the view, and while windows may frame a small section of the horizon, desks are more inward that

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outward looking. Security systems close pupils off from their wider communities. Screens connected to global networks make the world feel smaller to many, but as the geographer Doreen Massey argues, actually just further distort the realities of the world.

may be well trodden and the idea well established, but within this context, if it is new for the explorer it is original for them. Simply choosing a different way to travel to school could be highly original. The route, speed, direction, movement, style, perspective and Children in our schools need to get out more. purpose of travel can all be altered and recorded in an Teachers in our schools need to mediate real-world infinite number of ways. outdoor learning more. Exploration-based activities Exploration and being creative can both be physical, during or after school are one way of working towards intellectual, emotional, sensual and spiritual experiences. a more ‘free range’ form of education. Freedom is needed to increase the opportunities for Exploration is one of the most powerful yet under used students to ‘reach their full potential’ – a much used tools for creative learning and communication in schools. parents’ evening phrase that is as much about the Extraordinary explorations like Mark Beaumont ‘cycling nature of the space into which a student is developing the Americas’ may be out of reach, but exploration is as their aspiration to fill it. a state of mind, and there are everyday and accessible You cannot explore or be creative without some explorations which can be found on the doorsteps of all element of risk. Developing skills to assess, manage and our communities. Take the stories about Urbex or Urban respond to risk is important to our overall wellbeing Explorers (who trespass into derelict and abandoned and for being successful in whatever occupations we buildings) which have captured the imagination of and find ourselves. featured in most major newspapers. In some cases these By providing the concrete experiences that accompany explorers visit hospitals or exploration we give factories the day after the High profile exploration and adventure is students a foundation lights have been switched upon which they can off, turning a place of usually about being first, fastest, taking risks develop creative ideas. everyday work into one Equally, by developing of overnight adventure. It or finding something new – usually in an their ability to be creative is the frame of mind of the we will enable students explorer which matters extreme and exotic environment. to conceive more creative here, and so tapping into explorations. These, in young people’s predisposition to play can help bring turn, help them to have new experiences which foster about explorations in what may seem like boring places: new ways of seeing and understanding their worlds. you just need to be creative about how the exploration is set up. In practice High profile exploration and adventure is usually about Using explorations is something that can be easily being first, fastest, taking risks or finding something new integrated into any subject area at any stage. You can – usually in an extreme and exotic environment. The carry out explorations in foreign places or without reality is that we all engage in everyday explorations. We leaving your classroom. Some explorations will demand search for lost socks and good places to live. We monitor that you be more creative, while others leave the the hair growth on the microlandscapes of our bodies creativity to those carrying out the mission. You may and surf the web. As a society we are preoccupied with choose to frame what, where or how something should extremes and ownership so overlook the obvious: as be explored, or find a place and leave the discovery educators we have an enormous opportunity to refocus entirely to your class. The exploration may be serious young people’s minds on questioning what is often or ridiculous, short or long, independent or as a group, taken for granted, left uncontested or absent. Many of in free or formal time.. it is entirely up to you. the skills needed to track down a lost tabby cat are the I am a member of a partnership of geography teachers, same for finding a lion - the key difference is the scale of artists, academics and activists called The Geography the exploration - but if you are the owner of the tabby Collective. We have been working together for nearly cat the exploration is no less important. three years to find ways to encourage (young) people to explore, see and understand their worlds in new ways. Exploration and creativity These two examples show different ways in which an Exploration is strongly linked to creativity. Exploring is explorative enquiry could be suggested. about learning, discovering and inquiring by travelling into undiscovered or uninvestigated territory. Creativity Framing learning during explorations is about having new and original ideas, producing Each year millions of pupils visit new places including something and being divergent. foreign and exotic countries. Authorised holidays in The key thing is that for both exploration and term time is the second greatest reason for absence from creativity the originality is for the individual. The patch school after sickness, but despite a legal requirement

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Outdoor Learning

for children to be set learning activities while away from school, I wonder how many really do these. These travels are a massive opportunity for children to learn and we think far more work could be done to encourage, nurture and capture the learning that takes place during these times. The Journey Journal is our first attempt to do this. Each of the pages in the Journey Journal encourages students to begin to think about the different aspect of their journey. Politics, social impacts, wildlife, culture, emotions and a range of other topics are covered. While the activities ask students to record their thinking on the pages (which can be used as evidence of learning), in many ways it is the conversations that are instigated as a result of them that can prove most beneficial.

Framing explorations for learning Taken from our book Mission:Explore here are some examples of different types of exploration and mission based learning that you can ask your students to complete which involve a creative element. Many of these missions can be set in a ‘guerrilla education’ style, by asking students to complete them at places and times that they are not used to being ‘educated’. Engaging young people in their own time and spaces can help create concrete and meaningful experiences which could help them remember and learn in new ways. Feel free to photocopy and use these missions with your classes.

warm. This mission encourages students to question culture by inverting the situation. This is a quirky approach to social research which can be used not only to question how people (do not) respond to the ‘old people’ but to start a conversation about the nature of culture and what can be done it change it. Your students may well be able to think of their own missions that invert realities they would like to explore.

experiences - ME0011 This mission can be set as homework to be completed over a weekend. This form of mapping is not only about physical geography but how students fit emotionally into their community. Providing an opportunity for students to share their maps publicly will engage them in a form of active citizenship that can make their efforts more meaningful and potentially bring about some kind of change. The maps they produce can be highly creative and could lean more towards impressionism than scientific accuracy. Leaving how the map is constructed open may bring about some interesting and interpretations of your local area.

landscapes - ME0019 This simple exploration encourages students to see everyday parts of the human landscape which are usually overlooked. Once they have photographed their A-Z of letters there is a wide range of creative activities that you can use including: writing a poem, song, story using each of the letters for inspiration

Exploration, creativity and… ..culture - ME0002 Many children (and adults) accept cultures, economies and other large aspects of our lives as they are, but these are created by people and can be changed. Hoodies have been used by the media and politicians as a symbol of negative aspects of some youth cultures and in the process have upset scores of young people who use their hood simply to keep


asking another member of the class to work out where each of the photographs were taken. This is also known as photo orienteering.

looking at the shape of each typeface. If they had an accents, where in the world would they be from and why?

senses - ME0016 Our personal histories influence the way we make sense of the world and our physical ability to sense changes how we experience it. Imagining that we are someone

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Outdoor Learning

or something else can radically change our ideas and opinions (see mission 79). In this exploration children are encouraged not only to think about how another species experiences the world but also to think about each of their individual senses. If your school is currently being redeveloped asking pupils to explore using different senses or perspectives can help them to empathise with others and think creatively about how they would like to see their school changed. When this activity was done in a school recently the need for green space, the smell of the poorly kept toilets, high height of reception counter (unsuitable for people in wheelchairs) and inequality in spaces available to some pupils were all highlighted through the pupils imagining being a dog.

variation on this activity is to ask your students to focus on a particular type of place or to present their imaginary explorations as a story, map or poem. You could also ask your students to bring in a bag from home packed and ready to visit the place.

investigations ME0042 Streets are frequently covered in signs with appeals for lost cats and dogs. For the family involved finding their much loved pet can often feel hopeless, but there’s a science to finding missing animals. This exploration challenges students to think about and weigh-up the various factors that may determine the location of the pet. This could be a fun activity to try with a pretend cat with you issuing the details of its character and when it was last seen.

perceptions - ME0079 This mission helps to draw out how different people can have a range of views about the same experiences. The more people who do the mission will help to draw out a greater range of views. Going on longer explorations and asking students to recall stories is a deeper way of approaching this activity and taking the time to unpack why some things are recalled more strongly by some students than others can help reveal our differences and similarities. Explorations can be fun enquiries that are rigorous in their scientific approach or absurd adventures that simply encourage you or the children you teach to think about an issue in a new way. Mission based learning is an additional creative tool that you can use to help deepen and enrich learning. By setting missions to explore you will be producing concrete experiences from which students can develop new imagination(s) – a vital ingredient for creativity.

imaginations - ME0045 Some of the most creative explorations are imagined ones. Just think about Lord of the Rings, Narnia, Where the Wild Things Are and the His Dark Materials trilogy. A

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Daniel Raven-Ellison is a Geography Educator and member of The Geography Collective. To find out more visit: Mission: Explore is available from: http://www. Journey Journal is available from:


Curriculum Innovation

What is a thinking school? Many attempts to introduce thinking skills into schools have faltered. Bob Burden gives clear advice on how intentions to introduce a cognitive curriculum do not have to remain simply wide-eyed aspirations.


he first decade of the 21st Century has witnessed the beginnings of a mini-revolution in curriculum planning and delivery in British schools. Tired of the constricting demands of an over-prescriptive National Curriculum and the invidious requirements of teaching to SATs, many within the teaching profession have become conscious of the transformational nature of cognitive approaches to learning as an alternative to transmission-based teaching. The ideas


of such luminaries as Matthew Lipman, Edward de Bono and Reuven Feuerstein, previously considered to be ‘on the fringe’ of educational thinking, have increasingly come to be seen as offering valuable insights into the fundamental connection between thinking and learning. Attempts to introduce thinking skills into schools are certainly not new. As far back as the mid 1980s an OECD report emphasised the need for schools to produce more

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Curriculum Innovation

independent thinkers and problem-solvers, a demand repeated more recently by the World Bank amongst others. A Government sponsored inquiry carried out by Carol McGuinness in the 1990s came to very similar conclusions and offered sensible advice as to one possible way forward. Meanwhile, however, research into the effectiveness of such approaches, such as Nigel Blagg’s evaluation of the introduction of Instrumental Enrichment into Somerset secondary schools, appeared to produce negative or, at best, equivocal results. (Blagg 1991) At Exeter University’s Cognitive Education Centre our preliminary analysis of why so many thinking skills initiatives either petered out or simply failed altogether led us to conclude that the problem did not necessarily lie within the programmes themselves. Feuerstein’s theory of Structured Cognitive Modifiability is one of the most impressively constructed theoretical frameworks for cognitive change that has ever been produced. The foundations of Lipman’s Philosophy for Children stretch back to Dewey and to Socrates. De Bono’s Six Hat Thinking has been shown to bring about remarkable improvements in business organisations worldwide. If this is the case, then where did the roots of the problem lie? The conclusion that we reached was that the obstacles to the successful implementation of any programme designed to teach children to learn how to learn were almost entirely systemic. There was little wrong with the programmes themselves, only the ways in which they were being introduced into schools. Firstly, there was what Georgiades and Phillimore referred to many years ago as ‘The Myth of the Hero Innovator’. (Georgiades and Phillimore 1975) In a highly influential article they pointed out that innovations are often introduced by enthusiastic individuals, possibly teachers returning from a conference or course, who seek to impose their new-found enthusiasm upon an unresponsive audience of sceptical colleagues. In a telling phase, Georgiades and Phillimore commented that ‘organisations, like dragons, eat hero-innovators for breakfast.’ Thus, deprived of support or nourishment, the innovation will inevitably fail. This was clearly exemplified in Blagg’s study and a more recent small scale evaluation of one school’s thinking skills initiative by the present writer and his colleague, Lousie Nichols. Secondly, the ever increasing demands on teachers to meet various externally imposed targets left little time or opportunity for creative curriculum planning, or for further reflection and innovation. It was only when frustrated with a National Curriculum that gave the impression, at least, of focussing mainly on the regurgitation of information by means of timed assessment tasks, that teachers began to cast their eyes widely for more process-based approaches to teaching and learning. Although cognitive (or, as they were more commonly known, ‘thinking skills’) approaches appeared to many to offer more promising alternatives, advocates of each of these programmes often fell into the trap of appearing to claim that they could provide the answer to all of traditional schooling’s ills. Alternatively, by taking a piecemeal approach to teaching thinking and study skills,

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the danger became one of adding the occasional stimulating lesson devoted to thinking skills as a kind of ‘sticking plaster’ solution. Fairly soon those who took on the message found themselves asking, in the words of the immortal Peggy Lee, ‘Is that all there is?’ The breakthrough came from an unexpected direction. The literature on school effectiveness and school improvement,

since the early work of Michael Rutter and Peter Mortimore and his colleagues at the Institute of Education, later summarised by Teddie and Reynolds had more or less come to similar conclusions on how to recognise an effective school and what needed to be done to achieve a school’s vision. What they did rather less well was to offer ideas on how to reach those goals. It was the recognition of the potential value of combining the lessons from the school effectiveness/improvement literature and cognitive education approaches that gave rise to the concept of the ‘Thinking School’.

What is a Thinking School ? The definition of a thinking school that emerged is one of ‘an educational community in which all members share a common commitment to giving regular, careful thought to everything that takes place. This will involve learning how to think, reflectively, critically and creatively, and to employing these skills and techniques in the co-construction of a


Curriculum Innovation

meaningful curriculum and associated activities. Successful outcomes will be reflected in students across a wide range of abilities demonstrating independent and co-operative learning skills, high levels of achievement, and both enjoyment and satisfaction in learning.  Benefits will also be shown in ways which all members of the community interact with and show consideration for each other and in the positive psychological well-being of both students and staff. In order to achieve this goal, a whole school approach will be necessary whereby all stakeholders (including parents and school governors) are fully committed to the school’s aims and how they can best be achieved.  Staff will need to be specially trained and methods will need to be introduced into the curriculum for teaching the skills of thinking and associated cognitive and metacognitive strategies. The widest possible application of these skills and strategies should underpin all other aspects of the curriculum and should guide behaviour policies and expectations about human interactions at every level and care for the environment.’ (Teddlie and Reynolds 2005) Working with such pioneers as Gill Hubble from St Cuthbert’s School in New Zealand and a group of thinking skills practitioners and trainers from the Kestrel organisation we followed this definition by constructing criteria for identifying and achieving a successful Thinking School. In sharing these criteria with various schools that had already started on the journey, the idea of Thinking School accreditation became the logical next step. Fourteen criteria were established and schools were offered the opportunity of producing a portfolio of evidence to demonstrate how these had been met. A follow-up visit to the school by a member of the Cognitive Education Centre Team made it possible for teachers, classroom assistants, school governors, parents and pupils to be interviewed, lessons to be observed and pupils’ work to be shared. At the completion of this process the school receives a report and, if successful, a certificate and trophy, and the right to print the CEC logo on any formal school literature. The selected criteria, their reasons for selection and the kind of evidence needed to show that they have been met, are presented below.

Criteria for Accreditation as a Thinking School 1. There is a need for the Principal/Headteacher to have made a formal commitment to cognitive education as a means of school improvement as a central aspect of the school’s development plans. This is because all the school effectiveness/improvement literature identifies the crucial importance of leadership in the change process. This is most readily shown in the printed documentation that the school makes available to current and prospective parents and to reports to the governors. 2. This commitment to cognitive education must have the explicit support of the school governors. There have undoubtedly been occasions when an enthusiastic headteacher has been frustrated by a governing body


that has failed to see the full benefit of a cognitive approach, but has been more influenced by a drive for examination success at all costs. For this reason a formal statement of support by the Chair of Governors is necessary, together with evidence of ongoing support from the governors in the minutes of their meetings, which may well include a record of how they themselves have been informed about or even trained in the cognitive approach. 3. It is necessary for each school to have a formally appointed high status member of staff as their Cognitive Education Coordinator to organise and oversee the implementation of the cognitive education development agenda. There are several reasons for this. It is usually impractical for the Principal to take on this role, but unless it is seen as a highly prestigious post within the school, particularly in large schools, research has shown that the cognitive agenda can be so easily sidelined or undermined by competing demands. Here we are looking for details of the appointed person’s background and experience, particularly with regard to their previous and current training in different cognitive approaches.

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Curriculum Innovation



4. One of the first tasks of the Cognitive Education Coordinator after their appointment should be to establish a task force or subgroup of colleagues - from across curriculum subjects in large schools - to ensure that communication and co-operation takes place across the school and that discussions amongst staff and the teaching of thinking skills and strategies can occur by means of a cascade model. This will help to overcome the dangers of the hero-innovator tendency and will prove vital in leading to a committed ‘critical mass’ of cognitively orientated staff. Evidence here should take the form of listed names and roles, together with recorded details of discussion and planning meetings. 5. This should in time lead to the vast majority (at least 80%) of the school staff, including LSAs, demonstrating a clear understanding of what is meant by a cognitive curriculum, why it has been undertaken and how they can best contribute to it. This should be demonstrated in their pedagogy and in the nature of the tasks they set and the quality of the work produced by their pupils. 6. Implementation of a cognitive curriculum is most likely in the first instance is to be through an examination of the major cognitive programmes on offer. This should lead

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to the adoption of a least two programmes over a three year period, but may involve some degree of trial and error learning, that is, by deciding to reject one or another of the commercially available programmes and favouring another which seems to fit more readily with the school’s vision and action plan. At the time of writing, the most popular and well founded programmes in the UK appear to be David Hyerle’s ‘Thinking Maps’, Edward de Bono’s ‘Six Hat Thinking’, variations of Matthew Lipman’s ‘Philosophy for Children’, Art Costa’s ‘Habits of Mind’ and Guy Claxton’s ‘Building Learning Power’. Schools tend to vary in order in which they begin, but no school achieving accreditation has yet indicated that any one programme fulfils all the requirements of a cognitively oriented curriculum. Two is an absolute minimum, for starters, but gradually schools find that they can build upon their growing confidence and expertise by taking on complementary programmes like Adey and Shayer’s ‘CASE’, ‘CAME’ and ‘Let’s Think’ programmes, the Thinking through History, Geography etc programmes constructed mainly at Newcastle University, or by developing their own home-grown approaches. The evidence of this process and the reasoning behind the adoption and/or rejection of different approaches should be clearly documented. All this should be part of an Action Plan that has been drawn up by the Cognitive Education Team, endorsed by the Principal and governors and disseminated to all members of staff. It is obviously important that a Cognitive Education Coordinator needs her/himself to be highly trained and confident in a range of potentially useful programmes and techniques and should see this as an essential ongoing aspect of his/her role. It is not enough for someone in this position to have attended a preliminary training course in a particular technique and expect to remain ahead of the game. Details of an ongoing CPD programme must therefore be made available. All staff should be encouraged to attend external courses or should receive constant in-house training by the ‘home’ team and/or highly rated external consultants. Documented reports of such training and its outcomes should also be available for public scrutiny. Taking a cognitive approach to the curriculum carries with it assumptions about alternative forms and outcomes of assessment: formative assessment for learning should be the norm, running alongside more conventional assessment of learning outcomes. We would also expect to see an emphasis upon pupil self-assessment and peer assessment as part of the regular assessment process. A Thinking School will also have considered possible alternative ways of assessing learning outcomes such as enhanced pupil self-esteem and increasing enjoyment in learning, and even increased staff satisfaction in teaching. At the end of the day, there is a requirement for evidence of positive learning outcomes, attitudes and behaviours of the pupils to indicate that they are operating as thoughtful responsible learners who are able to


Curriculum Innovation

articulate how and why thinking skills and strategies are a vitally important aspect of all that occurs in their schools. This can be seen in the nature and quality of the pupils’ work (including homework), interest they show in their work, positive attitudes towards school, enjoyment and confidence in learning, good attendance and behaviour records, a significant decrease in bullying and improved attainment and exam results, where this is reasonable to expect. Much of this can be revealed during the evaluation visit to the school, but will also require careful record keeping of critical incidents and other indications of change. 12. Few innovations ever work completely smoothly from start to finish. In fact, becoming a recognised Thinking School does not signify the end of the journey, merely a significant moment along the way. This implies that there will be a need to constantly review the effectiveness of the thinking tools employed in developing pupils’ metacognition and wider thinking strategies. A Thinking School will constantly be on the look-out for additional or useful approaches to enhance their children’s learning, and for ways of evaluating these. 13. The whole school approach means exactly that. Here we are looking for evidence that all members of staff are being encouraged to discuss on a regular basis the process of cognitive education and how it can be maintained and improved. The evident enthusiasm of all staff members for the cognitive approach will be a significant feature in illustrating how well this is working. 14. All of the above should be manifest in the whole ethos of the school: in the way it conveys a positive, caring and creative atmosphere to all stakeholders and visitors, whilst at the same time demonstrating that careful thought has been put into its organisational structure and visual presentations. This is likely to be shown in examples of the pupils’ work and displays that adorn the school, the way that visitors are received and treated and the general ‘feel’ of the way in which everyone goes about their business.

Outcome so far At the time of writing nearly 30 schools across England and Wales and one school in South Australia have successfully navigated the accreditation process. The ratio of primary to secondary schools currently stands at about four to one, but every level of socio-economic and cultural background has been represented. Some are small, three teacher schools, others cater for more than a thousand students. Of the secondary schools four are single sex grammar schools, whilst three are comprehensives. All have received good or outstanding Ofsted reports, with many receiving specific mention for the unique contribution of the cognitive approach to the pupils’ learning. As yet there is little formal evidence of the effects of the cognitive approach apart from the schools meeting the set criteria, but the following informal outcomes have been very apparent: where there


has been obvious room for improvement, attainments have risen; attitudes to towards school and to learning have been shown to be positive across the board; bullying and negative behaviour is virtually non existent. The expressed attitudes of more than 90% of the teaching and support staff in every accredited school reflect high personal satisfaction and enjoyment in their chosen profession. Accreditation is provided for a three year period, after which the school will need to provide evidence that it has continued to move forward in its quest to demonstrate that an emphasis upon the transformational process of teaching and learning offers far more than one in which information transmission rules the day. Several schools are currently preparing for reaccreditation as they approach the end of this initial accreditation period. The task of the CEC is to find ways of identifying whether and how well they have moved forward in that time. One important criterion currently being considered is the production of evidence of student, staff and/or parental responses by means of questionnaire surveys or ‘home grown’ research projects. Another criterion may well be how well the school has been able to ‘spread the word’ and influence the take up of these ideas in other schools. Another may be the way in which the school has been able to apply the cognitive approach to considering ‘big questions’. What does seem indisputable is that this revolution is growing fast, even to the extent of provoking the forces of reaction into ludicrously seeking to suppress schoolchildren’s rights to partake in decision-making processes that affect their future. To paraphrase a famous Bette Davis quote from ‘All About Eve’, “fasten your seatbelts folks, this is going to be a bumpy ride!” Bob Burden is Director of the Cognitive Education Centre at the University of Exeter. References Blagg, N. (1991) Can We Teach Intelligence? Hillsdale, N.J. Lawrence Erlbaum Burden, R.L. & Nichols, S.L. (2000) Evaluating the process of introducing a thinking skills programme into the secondary school curriculum. Research Papers in Education 15, 3. 293-306. Burden, R.L. & Williams, M.D. (1998) Thinking through the Curriculum. London: Routledge. Georgides, N. & Phillimore, L. (1975) The myth if the heroinnovator and alternative strategies for organisational change. In C. Kiernan & E.P. Woodford (eds) Behaviour Modification with the Severely Retarded Amsterdam: Assoc. Sci. Pub. McGuiness, C. (1999) From Thinking Skills to Thinking Classrooms: A review and Evaluation of Approaches for Development Students’ Thinking Norwich: Dept for Education and Employment. Teddlie, C. & Reynolds, D. (2000) The International Handbook of School Effectiveness Research London: Falme

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CONFERENCE Thursday 1st July 2010 Tankersley Manor Hotel, Sheffield, off M1 Junction 36

Engaging, nurturing and enabling through the creative curriculum A one day conference for professionals interested in making learning spaces that enable creative teaching and learning. Experts from the cutting edge of education, BSF, innovative design and effective consultation will be on hand to facilitate the day. If you are an education professional, there will be support with the development of your thinking around the right educational space for your community. If you are a professional seeking to work with schools there will be great insights into getting the design and consultation process right.

Contributions from: STEVE DAVIES Managing Director Children’s Services, Cocentra Ltd TOM WEAVER Managing Director, Flywheel ANDREW DE ROSA ABTT DEBBIE KIDD Manchester Metropolitan University ELAINE MILLARD Chair of NATE JEREMY ABRAHAMS BSF team, Barnsley LA JAMES COPP Creative Partnerships SCHOOL LEADERS involved in BSF programme, Barnsley STAFF AND STUDENTS of KINGSTONE and HOLGATE SCHOOLS, Barnsley And more to be confirmed

Bringing together leaders and professionals in education, BSF, architecture and design Timetable: 8.15 am Registration and coffee 9.00 am Introductions to the day followed by: a keynote by Steve Davies There will be a choice of workshops to attend: Workshop One – Pedagogy – Assessment for Living Workshop Two – Consultation and Discussion Case Studies Workshop Three – Making the Design Fit the Purpose 2.30 pm Plenary Panel 3.15 pm Formal day finishes The cost of the conference is £175 (which includes digital subscription to ‘21st Century Schools’ Magazine) We can book overnight accomodation at the venue for Wednesday 30th June for an additional £80 per delegate.

To register and sign up for workshops please contact OR go to

Making Places.indd 1

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Curriculum Innovation

Establishing the creative curriculum Headteacher Catrin Parry-Jones describes Surlingham School’s ongoing journey in being a ‘School of Creativity’


n the autumn of 2009 we were delighted to become one of the 26 schools across the U.K. to be granted ‘School of Creativity’ status from Creative Partnerships. This is a National programme for leading schools to develop and share excellent creative practice. Surlingham is a small school in Norfolk. We have 90 children on roll, seven teachers (some part-time) and four Teaching Assistants. The school is in a rural location, with children who are well supported at home and has a low Free School Meals percentage.


Of course, our journey into a rich curriculum that is both rigorous and creative didn’t begin with the ‘School of Creativity’ status. It’s difficult to pinpoint starting points. However, it’s a journey that will continue. As I write, it occurs to me that we are at a very significant point in our journey. The whole staff now have a consistent, shared perception of exactly what we want teaching and learning to be in our school, and an understanding of the next steps we need to take us forward. It wasn’t always like that! I have been the headteacher of Surlingham Community Primary School for six years. The previous head had been

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in post for 12 years and developed a curriculum which enabled teachers and children to work across the subjects and focus on the learning of individuals. The children were busy and learning for themselves, and I knew that it wouldn’t be a huge step for children to collaborate and take responsibility for their own learning. We needed to develop opportunities for the social construction of learning and build the skills and pedagogical understandings of the teachers. I believe fundamentally that children are best engaged in their learning when they are part of a community of inquiry. Recognizing the social nature of children, classrooms and schools, we began to design a curriculum that could give children genuine opportunities to use and apply their knowledge, skills and understanding in meaningful contexts. Early conversations with the staff were not always easy! Discussion focused on how we might integrate learning, rather than just working across the subjects. This is a subtle but important distinction, which some staff accepted more quickly than others. Our discussions were always lively and often combative as they frequently presented significant challenges to established practice. Teachers developed their understanding of what this meant in practice at their own pace, and classrooms began changing slowly. What emerged, eventually, was a strong commitment to creative pedagogy as well as a shared understanding of the values that would underpin our work.

who found it threatening to their sense of professional self. However, by this time, there was sufficient personal and professional trust amongst the staff to enable everyone to seek their own answers in their own time and way. As a school, we were confident in our educational philosophy and the direction it was taking us. However, one member of staff felt that this wasn’t for her and took the decision to leave. Although I regretted the loss of a good teacher, it gave us an opportunity to appoint someone with the potential to enhance the development of our thinking and practice. When the work of the Innovation Unit Project came to an end, the schools involved were keen to continue working together. We successfully applied to the Local Authority for a Primary Learning Network (PLN) grant. Thus the action research continued seamlessly, and still does to this day.

The Innovation Unit Project One of the early influences on our thinking was the ‘Innovation Unit Project’ led by Tuckswood Community First School. The project introduced us to innovative approaches to the curriculum, in particular, Philosophy for Children and Mantle of the Expert. The project focused on learning systems that infuse the whole curriculum and give children opportunities for social and creative learning. Teachers in the project took an ‘action research’ approach, documenting their work and findings carefully and reflecting together on their learning. Our school was an extremely active member of the project, together with seven other schools in Norfolk. We began the project with one ‘lead teacher’ and myself, and gradually built up to whole-school involvement as we considered our findings with the staff. This gave us all a powerful and continuously stimulating forum for reflective dialogue. At this time I was a teaching Head, with responsibility for Years 5 and 6 for three days a week. I was learning with the staff and we were supporting each other. This was very demanding for me. As any small school head will tell you, it’s hard to do justice to the role of classteacher and headteacher at the same time. However, I did not expect anyone to do anything that I was not prepared to do, and my teaching commitment really demonstrated this to the staff. We all shared the challenges of developing something new, and everyone brought practical experiences to the table to enrich our discussions. As ever, we had a core group of staff who embraced the challenge, and a few

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Support With the financial support of the Network we brought in consultants of known high quality to work alongside us. I found this really stimulating. Not only was I leading the school in an exciting and innovative direction, I was also challenging and developing my own practice. When we show that we, as school leaders, are open to new ideas and practices, we encourage others to embrace disciplined risktaking. Anyone who has explored the use of ‘Mantle of the Expert’ in the classroom will understand how challenging it is to genuinely share the direction of the learning with the children. Our consultants encouraged us to be ambitious but insisted that we focused rigorously on improving the quality of learning and teaching. In this way, we were confident that classroom research would strengthen rather than risk classroom practice. Several internationally known consultants had, and continue to have a profound influence on our work. Karin


Curriculum Innovation

Murris (Philosophy for Children and Dilemma Training), Luke Abbott and Brian Edmiston (Mantle of the Expert and Inquiry Curriculum) worked with the staff from the beginning of the Innovation Unit Project. Prudent use of the financial support that came with the project was key to the success of our model for Continuing Professional Development. Our consultants led residential weekend training sessions and, crucially, worked in class, enabling staff to observe and work alongside them. Teachers and Teaching Assistants from the PLN schools regularly visited each other’s classrooms, providing maximum benefit for minimum funding. The weekend training is, of course, a ‘big ask’ for the staff and is not possible for everyone, but the pay-off is huge! Many staff say that the sustained focus of such an experience has transformed their practice. Networking and the action research approach have led to further independent professional learning. Five out of our staff of seven are currently working towards a Masters’ Degree in Dramatic Inquiry. Other excellent consultants have helped us along the way, including Local Authority advisers. They were particularly useful in helping me to draw out staff thinking about the nature of creativity and clarifying the essence of a creative curriculum. We are also fortunate in having a School Improvement Partner who fully understands our vision and the pedagogy that makes us truly a ‘School of Creativity’. Another significant factor in our development has been the appointment of influential members of staff. Three years ago I was able to appoint two teachers who had previously worked with Mantle of the Expert and brought new skills and understandings to our work. Their appointment accelerated the development of our curriculum but, as they have said, it was the fertile ground for creative learning and teaching that attracted them to our school. Similarly, we have recently appointed a Deputy Head who is experienced in the development of a creative curriculum. We have also valued the support of parents and Governors in the move towards a creative curriculum with whom we believe that it is really vital to share our work. For example, we have days when we open our classrooms: parents work alongside their children and we run evenings when we provide information and demonstrations for parents, as well as a forum for raising questions. We find that parents and Governors support changes in curriculum when they believe that these will motivate the children and result in significant improvements in achievement. Some parents need more time to be convinced of the changes and we give a high priority to explaining our approaches to them. Networking has always been an important part of my professional life. I love going to new places, and I’m a bit of a magpie with new ideas. But I do have to take care not to rush or exhaust my staff. A recent visit to the Wroxham Primary School in Enfield was an excellent example of effective networking. This


research trip was organized by the Norfolk Association of Primary Headteachers and focused on ‘learning without limits’ and providing opportunities for ‘pupil voice’. ‘Pupil voice is a priority for us and I brought back a range of ideas to discuss with the staff. After much debate, we have implemented our own version of ‘Circles’, which has moved our ‘School Council’ work on apace. Once a week, children work together in small, mixed age groups to problem solve, discuss innovations in the school and other issues of the moment. Recent questions have included: ‘How can we tell parents and carers about our learning?’; ‘How can we make being chosen for sports and special events fair?’; and ‘What storage solutions can we come up with in our small school building?’ Ideas from the ‘Circles’ are fed back to governors and have helped to improve the smooth running of the school. The children really appreciate the opportunity the ‘Circles’ give them. When making significant changes to the curriculum, it is important to recognize the potential for upsetting the emotional balance of the school. When we share

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Curriculum Innovation

A balanced education

responsibility for learning with the children, we need to ensure that they feel emotionally safe and are clear about what is required of them. It is not surprising to find that children who feel unsure in their learning environment are likely to exhibit undesirable behaviours. Teachers need to be constantly alert to changes in behaviour in order to maintain the social health of the learning group. For example, we found that some of the children were finding the freedom of taking more responsibility for their learning difficult to handle. They did not understand the need for respect and consideration when working collaboratively and had become disrespectful in the way they talked to each other. We spent time discussing how the confusion between freedom and licence had arisen and decided that we needed to explore this with the children. Consequently, we are currently working with the children to develop their understanding of the importance of valuing others’ ideas and opinions, the thoughtful use of language and the skills of resolving dilemmas.

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Before taking on this Headship I had the very valuable experience of Deputy Headship in a large urban school in an area of great deprivation. The school had five Headteachers in the seven years that I was there. Six weeks after I started, the school fell into Special Measures. Of course this was painful for all, but some extremely good learning came from it. I learnt the vital importance of knowing where the children are in their learning, that meaningful assessment systems need to be in place, and that such systems must give us a picture of the whole child as a learner if we are to know best how to help them move forward. I also learnt that the rigorous learning and teaching of basic skills and good (but not over) planning are vital elements in the quest for creativity. It might seem strange in a story about creative development, but we place a high priority on children acquiring a secure understanding of the basic skills of literacy and numeracy. If children cannot read and write fluently and manipulate numbers confidently, then their creative potential can be seriously inhibited. Equally, research shows us that if we don’t pay attention to their social and emotional well-being, they will be unable to learn effectively. Providing a curriculum that works well for all is, as ever, a delicate balance. Here at Surlingham we try to include all aspects of personal, emotional, social and academic development. We aim to provide, in the words of Mick Waters, an ‘irresistible curriculum’, supported by responsive, imaginative teaching and learning. Some of our successes include: learning through Forest Schools and developing our outdoor curriculum; Global awareness, including a learning partnership with a school in Dedza, Malawi; use of dramatic and imaginative inquiry as a cornerstone of the curriculum; and paying close attention to children’s moral and social well-being. My task as a leader, working with my Leadership Team, staff, children, governors and parents, is to keep a steady balance, judging when to consolidate and when to explore new ideas. I know I have to be careful not to take on too many innovations, to ensure that we do one or two things well and in depth, and that we never forget the importance of networking and learning from others.

With networking in mind, we are organizing a conference on June 18th, at Barnham Broom in Norfolk. The School of Creativity Inquiry Day Conference. This will be a day of exploration and sharing of creative curriculum ideas and strategies, and we are delighted to have Chris Watkins (London Institute of Education) and Luke Abbott (Director, to lead us expertly through the day. Do come and join us. The cost is £175 and you can contact sandie@ to register.


Learning Through Drama

Using dramatic Enquiry

to explore controversies in science With the increasing prominence of ‘How Science Works’ in science courses in England, the need to engage young people in the controversies thrown up by the advance of science has never been greater. Neil Phillipson and Gordon Poad describe an exciting teaching strategy for doing just that.


his article describes the application of ‘Dramatic Enquiry’ to GCSE science. The project, developed by Thistley Hough High School and Cap-a-Pie Associates in conjunction with Creative Partnerships, involved the whole of Year 9 in creating a fictitious, near future setting in which to explore the science of genetic diseases and the ethical dilemmas that they create. Key Words: Dramatic Enquiry, drama, genetic disease, creative

Origin of the Project Science curricula in the UK now place great emphasis on ‘How Science Works’. Aspects of this agenda focus on the need to equip students to become scientifically literate citizens (examples of statements from the Key Stage 4


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programme of study and from our particular specification are shown in Box 1). Beyond the requirements of the curriculum, equipping our students to become pro-active citizens capable of engaging with science-based issues has never been more important. The large majority of students will be faced with decisions such as ‘Should my child have the MMR vaccination?’ and ‘Is it safe for my child to use a mobile phone?’ Hopefully they will also enter into wider public debate around subjects such as the use of nuclear power, renewable energy and many other applications of science; it is vital that we engage the next generation in these issues. A central issue facing departments is how to do all this in an engaging and entertaining way, and in a way that encourages the students to think, develop and refine opinions and express them. The science department at Thistley Hough High School hoped to develop a project to address this issue. We also hoped to develop teachers’ interest in the How Science Works agenda, both within the department and in the wider school, with the hope that cross-curricular projects may result.

Formation of a Creative Partnership The science department approached Creative Partnerships with the idea of applying drama to the exploration of issues

arising from the Twenty First Century Science specification. The key question we set ourselves to answer was: “Can we use drama to improve students’ confidence in exploring science based controversies, and to enable them to develop and express informed opinions?” A partnership was formed with Gordon Poad, director of Cap-a-Pie Associates, a drama-in-learning organisation based in County Durham. Gordon had previously developed the pedagogy of Dramatic Enquiry.

Dramatic Enquiry The Dramatic Enquiry is a distinct fusion of two other teaching strategies: Philosophy for Children (Sapere, 2010) and Drama / Theatre in Education (teachernet, 2009). Philosophy for Children (P4C) provides strategies for developing a ‘community of enquiry’ in which learners explore more open and genuine questions than those often considered in the classroom. Skilled facilitation helps to develop reasoning and reflection and provides social and emotional challenges as well as intellectual ones. The application of P4C to science teaching has been explored (Barratt, 2007; Zawadzki, 2007). The unique approach of Dramatic Enquiry is to provide theatre based frameworks and strategies to allow a very wide range of learners to engage with concepts and philosophical dilemmas from multiple perspectives. This was to be the first time that Dramatic Enquiry had been applied to the teaching of science, making this project a vehicle for learning for all involved.

The Context of the Dramatic Enquiry We decided to use the project to provide a stimulating introduction to GCSE science for our Year 9 students (14 years of age) following the end of their KS3 course. It was our aim that they should all engage with the project in some way. We were also keen that it should contribute to the professional development of staff across the school. Two full days of planning involving Gordon, Grace Robinson (director of Thinking Space – see end note), all of the science teachers and the Year 9 form tutors resulted in the following outline for the enquiry: Sometime in the near future financial systems have collapsed and the world faces an unprecedented crisis. A ‘World Council’ is formed in response to the crisis, which passes some uncompromising legislation. All 16 year olds are required to report for genetic screening. If they are found to have genes related to one of a number of genetic diseases targeted for eradication, then they are sterilised; in this way the diseases can be eradicated, along with the tremendous cost to the public finances that they generate through expensive healthcare. A girl, known only as Girl A, has evaded the screening programme and has been brought to trial. The trial is seen as a test case: If a conviction is not secured the law will be considered unworkable. Our Dramatic Enquiry would create this trial and use this

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Box 1: Relevant Statements from KS4 Programme of Study and Exam Board Specification

KS4 Program of Study 1.4 Applications and implications of science Pupils should be taught: a. about the use of contemporary scientific and technological developments and their benefits, drawbacks and risks b. to consider how and why decisions about science and technology are made, including those that raise ethical issues, and about the social, economic and environmental effects of such decisions Twenty First Century Science Specification A, offered by the exam board OCR 6.1 Science-based technology provides people with many things that they value, and which enhance their quality of life. Some applications of science can, however, have unintended and undesirable impacts on the quality of life or the environment. Benefits need to be weighed against costs. 6.5 Some applications of science have ethical implications. As a result, people may disagree about what should be done (or permitted). 6.6 In discussions of ethical issues, one common argument is that the right decision is one which leads to the best outcome for the majority of people involved. Another is that certain actions are unnatural or wrong, and should not be done in any circumstances. A third is that is that it is unfair for a person to choose to benefit from something made possible only because others take a risk, whilst avoiding that risk themselves. 6.7 In assessing any proposed application of science, we must first decide if it is technically feasible. Different decisions on the same issue may be made in different social and economic contexts.

context to explore the science of genetic diseases and the ethical dilemmas surrounding them. A training session took place with all the school’s teachers so that they could be made aware of the proposed project and invited to contribute or to consider opportunities for a similar approach in their own subject areas.

Phase 1: Working with the Whole of Year 9 Following the end of KS3, Year 9 were taught science in mixed ability tutor groups with an average class size of 25. Groups had an average of six lessons before their Dramatic Enquiry day during which they were introduced to inheritance and genetics. Genetic diseases were introduced with a brief study of cystic fibrosis, with the outcome that the children could work out the probability of offspring being carriers or sufferers of the disease given the genotypes of the parents. Seven days of Dramatic Enquiry followed – one for each tutor group. Three adults were present on each day; in most cases Gordon, the group’s science teacher and their form tutor (funding from Creative Partnerships was used to cover the cost of supply). After a team-building exercise focused on risk-taking and the need for co-operation to create a rich learning experience, the class entered the ‘courtroom’ (a drama / dance studio) where the judge, played by Gordon, greeted


them as members of the jury. For the purposes of the activity the size of the jury was expanded from the usual 12 to allow all class members to take this role. A pre-selected member of the class, Girl A, stood in the dock holding a (model) baby. A pre-prepared video showing a news report gave some context. The judge gave his summing up, which was followed by the closing statements of the barristers for the prosecution and the defence (also played by Gordon). The ‘foreman of the jury’ was asked to return a verdict, but was of course unable to do so as the drama had started at the end of the trial and the jury had seen no evidence. It was our intention that this opening sequence should leave the class with some idea of what the context of the day would be, but would not give them a complete picture, hopefully stimulating curiosity and thought. The students were asked three questions: based on what they had heard so far, what did they know, what did they feel, and what would they like to know after the next sequence of drama? Using a stimulus to help learners to generate rich questions for an enquiry is at the heart of the P4C approach; this activity greatly enhanced the engagement of our students as it gave them some ‘ownership’ of the event and the learning. Gordon explained that the group would now work together to create the trial from its beginning. The jury were

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Learning Through Drama

sworn in (an opportunity for the class to commit to their took on the world’s depleted resources to continue. First role in the Enquiry) before hearing opening statements on they assembled in a circle to discuss all that they had heard behalf of the prosecution and defence. A ‘genetics expert’ – what were the key ethical questions that they needed to (the science teacher) was then called to briefly review ideas ask themselves? This crucial activity that consolidated and of inheritance and genetic disease. They would return to developed the learning was conducted in a typical P4C their role as jurors later, but now the class were divided into format with the learners encouraged to take responsibility two groups and asked to play the roles of teams of lawyers for developing the discussion. Questions from the facilitators assisting the barristers for the prosecution or the defence. were aimed at prompting them to substantiate their views They were issued with the profiles of six witnesses and told with reasoning and evidence. They were also encouraged that they could choose one to help make their case. They to explore alternative views and to test the implications and would need to devise between four and six questions for consequences of their views. Ideas made explicit in the their witness. The witnesses were: the minister responsible exam board specification (see point 6.6 in Box 1) began to for the genetic screening law, a campaigner against the law, emerge from the students’ discussions – further evidence of a church spokesperson, a commentator on bioethics and a progress towards curricular learning objectives. proponent of embryo selection as an alternative approach Finally, back in the courtroom, the verdict was to combating genetic disease. delivered! The witnesses were played by the science teacher and form tutor present. They had been given access to the Reflection on Phase 1 witness profiles in advance to enable them to consider Back in science lessons, a student voice exercise asked the position each witness might adopt, but were required students to score their enjoyment of the activity and the to improvise their answers to the questions posed. The quality of their learning on a scale of 1 (low) to 5 (high). essential argument brought out was around the rights of The responses of 57 Year 9 students were analysed and individuals balanced against the needs of society. Where the results are summarised in Chart 1. Whilst responses time allowed, there was some cross-examination of the are significantly positive for both criteria, the students witnesses. A short exercise helped students to reflect on seemed slightly more positive about their enjoyment the relative amounts of fact and opinion provided by them, of the activity than about the quality of their learning. and their reliability as sources of evidence; critical thinking When questioned further, a number of students felt that was encouraged. there had not been much science content in the day. It Next, the judge announced that dramatic new evidence had been presented. The prosecution barrister revealed that Girl A knew that her father had Huntington’s disease. The genetics expert was recalled to describe the nature of this disease and explain the implications of its being caused by a dominant allele (this was new teaching of science content). Girl A’s diary had been found, and clearly told Chart 1: Scores assigned to enjoyment and quality of learning by 57 year 9 pupils following Phase 1 of the project (1 = low, 5 = high) her story – why and how she had evaded the genetic screening, when she became aware of her father’s condition became clear that the students did not appreciate that and what she understood of it, and her relationship with skills such as using evidence to substantiate an opinion her child’s father. The diary was presented to the students, were very much a part of their science curriculum. but was seen to be blank. Working in teams they were now When this was pointed out it improved their view of to tell Girl A’s story for themselves. They could write diary the learning experience. Some of the key points to entries, act out scenes from her life or set up a series of still emerge from the discussions and relevant quotations images that recreated key moments from the story. are given below: Shortly the group would return to their role as jurors and deliver their verdict; finding Girl A not guilty would ● The students enjoyed the project most when they were mean the abolition of the screening laws, allowing the active; they particularly enjoyed developing the drama suffering caused by genetic diseases and the toll that they themselves through role play:

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Learning Through Drama

“I enjoyed the part where we all had to act ourselves because I found that that’s when everyone understood the storyline – we really got involved in it” ” It was fun and got you involved and you learned better”. ● The students appreciated that they were learning to

explore controversies in a balanced way: “I didn’t understand what was happening at the beginning but I did after listening to what was being said. I learned how to debate and understand opinions other than just my own.’ ‘We also learned about science and genetics with a tie in with law and I learnt how to debate without getting angry. Usually I would have shouted.” ● The students responded best when staff were fully

involved and willing to emerge from their own ‘comfort zones: “Mr Turfrey was really involved and he was brilliant. Mr Phillipson got involved too which was good.” “I could see the students thinking: ‘If she can do it so can I.’“ (Teacher)

Theatre in Newcastle-Under-Lyme for an invited audience from Stoke schools. The audience would play the roles previously played by the Thistley Hough students – they were to be active participants in the Dramatic Enquiry. Devising techniques employed by Gordon ensured that the students were fully involved as co-constructors of the final piece. They scripted all of the speeches; where support was provided it was simply to help the students articulate what they wanted to say. As well as giving expression to the emotions experienced by Girl A and strengthening the context of the piece in a world in financial crisis, dance was also used to explore the symptoms of Huntington’s disease. Employing diverse forms of expression gave all students the opportunity to contribute. The students played all of the roles in the piece with the exception of those of the expert witnesses, which were played by Gordon and Neil (Head of Science). The theatre audience consisted of students from Years 9 and 10 of several local schools. To increase their engagement, each audience member was given a Promethean ActivExpression handset. This allowed them to register the strength of their agreement with various statements that were given to them throughout the piece; an example is shown in Figure 1. As in Phase 1, the audience were sworn in as the jury.

● Staff who were willing to take risks and commit fully to

the enquiry gained more from the experience: “I can see the human side of this now. Being the head of Year 9 I’m the person who imposes all the rules and expectations about behaviour. If I fell down in front of a whole class I would feel as if I had lost some of my credibility. But now I think they actually just see you as more of a person.” Generally there was a feeling that the Dramatic Enquiry had given students the opportunity and the motivation to apply their learning and thus to confront and address misconceptions – they wanted to contribute to the Enquiry and to reach a verdict that they felt confident about. An example of this was the reaction of one student when her drama piece revealed a misconception about the effect of the dominant gene for Huntington’s disease on the probability of Girl A and her child inheriting the condition. She was very keen to review the theory to make sure that her drama and her opinions had a sound factual basis. A feature of the dramatic context of the learning experience was that it engaged the students on an emotional level; there is evidence that this helps greatly with retention of associated information (McGaugh, 2003).

Phase 2: Staging a Dramatic Enquiry The second phase of our project provided a smaller group of students with a very challenging and developmental task. Fifteen of them volunteered to script, choreograph and to produce and stage the trial of Girl A at the New Vic


Figure 1: Use of Promethean handsets and software

The sequence of events was similar to that described in Phase 1, but was greatly enriched by the professional production (music, video imagery etc) and the performance of the students. Once again the audience, in their roles as defence and prosecution lawyers, selected and provided questions for the expert witnesses. The theatre space was flat and standard ‘classroom’ chairs were used for seating to allow the audience to form circles to facilitate discussion at key points – the set was designed to allow space for this. Gordon and Neil improvised their answers, deliberately providing provocative arguments around the role of suffering in society, parallels with previous experiments in eugenics, scientists’ responsibility to apply their understanding to reduce suffering etc. Essentially the case was framed in two different ethical paradigms: the application of absolute moral values, or the pragmatic

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Learning Through Drama

approach of considering that the greatest good is achieved by looking after the needs of the masses rather than those of individuals. As well as engaging our audience in the ethics of the application of science, we were keen to encourage them to evaluate the evidence that they had heard. After each witness had concluded their evidence audience members were asked to record their degree of agreement with the following statements: ● This witness was biased ● The evidence given by this witness was based on fact ● This witness had a strong ethical argument ● Overall, the evidence given by this witness was reliable

resulting discussions was a key measure of the success of the piece. Once the jury was re-assembled they returned their verdicts via the handsets. Finally, Gordon discussed some newspaper articles such as (the story about the creation of sperm from other male cells which had broken that morning). The audience were left with the following thought: although the story of Girl A was set in a dystopic future, if they as citizens were not willing to engage with contemporary controversies thrown up by the application of science, they may be complicit in allowing an undesirable future to develop for all of us. Perhaps it is incumbent on all of us to ‘Have an opinion. Make it heard!’

Using the Promethean software we were able to display the results of the audience vote quickly as shown in Figure 1, and to stimulate discussion around the questions. An understanding of bias and the ability to identify factual information and to evaluate ethical argument is crucial to the How Science Works agenda.. As in Phase 1, the diary of Girl A was now uncovered and the symptoms and genetic causes of Huntington’s disease were explained. The ensemble then presented the diary of Girl A as a moving piece of drama and dance. The judge’s summing up made clear to the audience that Girl A had clearly broken the law, but that their verdict was to be taken as a decision on whether that law was fit for purpose - a not guilty verdict would lead to the abolition of the screening and sterilisation program. The audience were then invited to congregate in circles once more and to consider their verdicts. The quality of the

Reflection on Phase 2

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Final evaluation of the project was facilitated by Creative Partnerships. An independent assessor recorded separate interviews with some of the Phase 2 students, the most involved teachers and Gordon. Participants in each interview were asked to score various aspects of the project on a scale of 1(low) to 4 (high). These criteria were focused on evaluating the learning outcomes for young people, teachers and for Gordon, the practitioner. The numerical responses are summarised in Table 1. Some key points evident from recordings of the discussions are given below, along with key quotations: ● The students taking part in the theatre production had a

challenging experience that they learned from in many different ways:


Learning Through Drama

Table 1: Summary of the scores assigned to aspects of the project during formal evaluation interviews on completion of the project (1 = low, 4 = high)

The Project’s Impact on the Learning of the young people involved



Young People

The development and communication of new skills, ideas, knowledge and understanding




Working as co-constructors of learning with teachers and creative practitioners




Engagement, enjoyment and motivation




The project’s impact on the learning of the teachers and school staff involved



The development and communication of new skills, ideas, knowledge and understanding




Co-construction of learning with young people




The development of creative teaching and learning beyond projects




The project’s impact on the learning of the practitioners involved


The development and communication of new skills, ideas, knowledge and understanding




Co-construction of learning with young people




The development of creative teaching and learning beyond projects




Input, process and quality



The project idea



Relationship building and communication between young people, teachers and practitioners



Collaboration – was it a joint project, equally authored, owned and driven?



Young people’s involvement as co-constructors of learning



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Learning Through Drama

and departmental boundaries, to take risks and to be creative in developing truly multi-dimensional learning experiences for all. Science is very well placed to sit at the heart of creative cross-curricular learning. Moving forward we hope to engage more students from schools across Stoke in contemporary science, helping them to explore issues and form opinions and providing them with a platform to make themselves heard. After all, the future of the planet is in their hands.

“For one pupil involved in the project the effect was life changing; this was a girl who was disaffected with school but who achieved a great deal for herself in understanding and empathising with those who suffered from Huntington’s Disease. This appeared to have the effect of getting her to see beyond her own problems.” “The project got the pupils looking at the reliability of evidence, of looking at ethics and rights and wrongs.” ● The pupils enjoyed and gained from being fully involved

in developing the production: “We helped to write scripts and to choreograph the dances.” “We did have our own say and since we had written our own lines we understood exactly what they meant.” ● All of the professionals involved learned from the

experience: “He (Neil) has really got a handle on the power of drama now. There was a dance teacher involved in the making and a science teacher observing and understanding what the dance teacher could provide. Overall this appeared to be a rich concatenation of ideas.” “The project had opened up an awareness as to what was possible not just in subject areas but in how a whole range of teaching and learning possibilities could be founded on a project such as this.” The success of using the Promethean handsets to increase the engagement of the audience was also noteworthy.

Concluding Comments The answer to our key question: “Can we use drama to improve students’ confidence in exploring science based controversies, and to enable them to develop and express informed opinions?” was a resounding “yes!” Involving the whole staff as much as possible had many benefits, leading to a feeling that the school as a whole had been enriched by the project. For example, the art department worked with Year 11 to provide an excellent exhibition for the ‘front of house’ in the theatre. Perhaps the major achievement of the project was to point the way to what can be achieved through a willingness amongst students and teachers to work outside comfort zones

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References Barratt, L. (2007) Scientific literacy through dialogue, Teaching Thinking&Creativity, 8:1(22), 28-30 McGaugh, J. L. (2003) Memory and Emotion: The Making of Lasting Memories, New York, Columbia University Press Sapere / P4C, 2010, Visited Feb 2010, URL: http://www. Teachernet 2009, Theatre in Education, Visited Feb 2010, URL: teachingandlearning/library/theatreineducation/ Zawadzki, H. (2007) Thought boards for 21st century science, Teaching Thinking&Creativity, 8:1(22), 32-35 End Notes Neil Phillipson was the Head of Science at Thistley Hough High School for the duration of the project and is currently a Science Consultant with Stoke-on-Trent City Council ( Gordon Poad is a creative learning practitioner, trainer and consultant. He is the director of Cap-a-Pie Associates who aim to design creative programmes that bring about positive changes in teaching, learning and curriculum design. ( The project was supported at every stage by Rebecca Bell of Creative Partnerships; Many members of staff at Thistley Hough High School contributed to this project. We are particularly grateful to Rob Haines (Head Teacher) Amy Fryer, Elizabeth Dawson and Christine Turvey; Grace Robinson is a freelance philosophy teacher, p4c practitioner, and SAPERE accredited trainer. She is the director of Thinking Space. Thinking Space work with groups of individuals who want to explore philosophical questions collaboratively. ( We are grateful to Daniel Forth of Theatre Cap-a-Pie for his excellent technical support We are grateful to the New Vic Theatre in NewcastleUnder-Lyme for providing us with a stage and in particular to Andrew Billington for his assistance with the production and his excellent photographs.


Learning Skills

The gadget show project Kings Oak Learning Centre champions the importance of risk taking in developing the skills that children need.

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t Kings Oak Primary Learning Centre, we believe that taking risks is a key to ensuring that our children experience a stimulating, meaningful and engaging creative curriculum. This was one of the main priorities when embarking on a Creative Partnerships Change School project in order to embed vision into everyday practice. All the staff within the learning centre have been involved in identifying the skills that our children need to help them become successful citizens both during their school years and beyond. This culminated in the development of ‘The 7 Rs’, a combination of the theories of


Learning Skills

Alistair Smith and Chris Quigley, that seemed appropriate to the needs of our children. All the skills that our children need to develop in order to become independent learners sat within these seven headings and now form the foundations of our curriculum: ● Responsibility ● Reasoning ● Reflective ● Relationships ● Resilience ● Resourceful ● Risk taking

Risk taking (identified through a Creative Partnerships audit tool) was a key element that we wanted to develop with the staff as well as the children. Many of our teachers and teaching assistants felt that the pressure of targets and SATS meant that creativity was a risky thing to introduce or should be segregated from literacy and numeracy. This led us to the enquiry question: What is the impact of risk- taking on the staff’s confidence in delivering a creative curriculum and on personal, learning and thinking skills in children? We contracted a digital media company, ‘Fowler and Sumner’ to work in partnership with our Year 3 and 4 team. This was the start of an exciting and uncertain journey towards a truly creative curriculum with the 7Rs at its heart. Would it work? Would we be sacrificing attainment? Would we have the confidence to do it justice? ‘Fowler and Sumner’ (Arron and Martin), designed creative activities that encouraged the children to think differently and devise different topic suggestions, then score them according to what they already knew about them and how interesting they seemed and how risky they might be. Once the scores were analysed, the theme of gadgets arose and ‘The Gadget Show’ was born. The children then formed separate companies comprising of members from all three classes. They then had to realise the importance of and develop the skills of relationships and team working to allocate roles, devise a name, logo and catchphrase that represented their company. Once this had been established, they researched gadgets, conducted market research and began to formulate ideas towards gadget design. As well as inventing and designing their gadgets, each company had to market their products. This included producing podcasts, producing TV adverts and putting together one minute lift pitches. They also designed and made business cards, company T shirts and a visual prototype of their gadget. The outcome would be a Gadget Show held in school where each company would set up a stand and pitch their product to an audience consisting of parents, members of the community, governors and children from the rest of school. They were given a fictional currency which was


then given to the company who they wanted to back, based on their products, sales pitch and technique. It was agreed that literacy and numeracy would form part of the project where appropriate but we would not be forcing them where it did not sit naturally. The opportunities for literacy were immediately evident, such as reading and researching, explanations, transcripts, letters and instructions. The challenge was to identify the need for these early so that it allowed time for the skills to be taught beforehand in order to produce quality pieces of work where the quality was not compromised. Numeracy, however, was more of a challenge but still found its place at times. For example, ratio and proportion was taught whilst colour mixing to paint the gadgets.

Observing the children in their companies during the Gadget Show was a privilege, and confirmation that taking the risks paid off. To see a child who can disengage from learning so easily, hiding under tables and refusing to speak, suddenly bursting with confidence showing such pride in their product and pitching to complete strangers was an uplifting experience. The children spoke eloquently and were able to think on their feet, responding professionally to queries and questions. One of the issues we faced in school was children’s lack of ability to listen to each other. They would be so focused on what they wanted to say that all their energy would go into putting their hand up as high as it would go, trying to wave it in front of your face and usually grunting or squeaking as they did so! This in turn would then put off some of our

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children from even trying to think about a contribution. We addressed this by introducing offers. This approach was an alternative to hand waving and was a simple outstretched hand as if offering something. This made it very clear to everyone in the class that they were about to comment on something relevant to the conversation and usually built on something that someone had said previously. It took away the desperation and really encouraged the children to listen to each other and develop a conversation or debate instead of making random comments, some of which had already been said, that were always directed at the teacher. It really helped them to value each other’s comments and realise that it wasn’t just the teacher that they were learning from.

What is a ‘Thunk’? A “Thunk” (Ian Gilbert) is a question that has no right or wrong answer and really makes your brain work a little differently! Take this example: Can you feel guilty for something you haven’t done? or If I lose my memory, am I the same person? ‘Thunks’ were introduced to develop the children’s ability to think creatively. Our children saw success as ‘getting things right’. We wanted them to recognise the learning in thinking about things differently and seeing things in a different light. This was done very early in the project to encourage them to start thinking creatively and engaging them in a deeper verbal dialogue. By the end of the project, they were able to continue a conversation around a ‘Thunk’ for a considerable amount of time and again, it was something that all the children engaged fully in because there were no stupid answers and no possible way of getting it wrong. This was something that spread amongst the rest of the staff quickly and are even used at the beginning of staff meetings to stimulate discussion and creative thinking.

What are the benefits of risk-taking? So did the risk taking pay off? I would say the answer is a resounding “yes”. One teacher commented on the close teamwork that developed over the project: “It was good to be out of our comfort zones altogether. By that I mean the teachers, teaching assistants, creative practitioners and the children. It was a learning curve that we all went through together and we all learnt a lot from each other. I learnt that sometimes the children have a better idea than you and that you don’t always have the answers.” One of the key changes in the learning and teaching was the realisation that the teacher did not always have to be teaching and the fountain of all knowledge. It was a hard transition to make but relinquishing a little control to the children resulted in great rewards. Some of our teachers were reluctant to teach in an area about which they had very little subject knowledge. Over the course of the project

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the Year 3 and 4 teachers were able to model a learning journey to the rest of school that the pupils and teachers went on together. Sometimes the expertise lay with the children, particularly in regard to a lot of the more technical aspects. The children responded well to this and as time went on they learnt to become less reliant on the adults in the room and make decisions for themselves. As teachers saw the impact on the children they began to realise the positive effect that it had on their independence and that facilitating a lesson could be as powerful as teaching a lesson. We noticed the children taking responsibility for their own learning and outcomes, recognising that they could take their ideas forward and make their own improvements. The less academically able children discovered that they could participate more easily. The lead teacher on the project commented, “These children were more likely to risk take and participate in group and whole class discussions. Some even led discussions amongst the more academically able”. As a result these children were suddenly motivated and excited about writing independently, something that was an issue in our setting. The children’s attitude to learning has changed dramatically, particularly that of our less engaged children. Pupil voice and flexible planning allowing for topics to evolve had a part to play in this, but it was real purpose for learning that inspired so many of our children to want to do well and succeed. As for attainment, it wasn’t hindered, but as the children develop the skills within the 7Rs and continue to learn within a meaningful context we hope and expect their attainment to improve in all areas.

What happens next? Our next steps and the focus of our second year of working with Creative Partnerships is to develop this practice and encourage all of our staff to risk take with the curriculum so that all of our children benefit from similar learning experiences. Instead of contracting creative partners to work with a class, a year group or a team, we want them to focus on the professional development of the whole staff. Peer coaching will play a major role in this, where teachers and teaching assistants will be placed in triads to observe each other’s practice and identify next steps for development. The creative practitioner’s role will be modelling theory into practice in the classrooms alongside a lead teacher in school with responsibility for the development of creativity. Within a year we hope to see every teacher and teaching assistant risk taking and moving their practice forwards, enabling our children to become confident, independent and successful learners. We are all passionate about our vision at Kings Oak and want our children to have the same opportunities as children from more privileged backgrounds. Why shouldn’t one of our children be Prime Minister in 25 years’ time? Who knows, one of them might even invent a gadget that will eradicate global warming!


Using art to develop creative and critical thinking

Are these two pictures about the same subject? The components of Learning Without Limits - the book, CD and laminated images have been designed as a practical coaching manual that helps teachers and children understand and apply the core principles of critical and creative thinking to lessons they have already planned, within and beyond the National Curriculum.

Price: £55.00 inc vat includes whole school licence so you can place it on your virtual learning environment

The materials in this pack will help all teachers to: ■ ■ ■

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Connect children directly with a picture or painting Give children a personalised starting point for learning Get children asking authentic questions (the questions they really want to ask and answer) Encourage exploratory talking and thinking Start the processes of critical and creative thinking Build confidence in making judgements, taking decisions and making choices Explore six techniques in detail and learn how to apply these to lessons they have already planned Refine and adapt the techniques to meet the needs of specific groups of pupils including able learners

Learning Without Limits 1 How to challenge and involve pupils of all abilities by teaching the key skills of critical and creative thinking through paintings, pictures and prints.

Order Hotline: 0121 224 7599 Learning without limits A4 ad.in1 1

29/1/10 2:46:19 pm

e-learning reports

Technology and learning We look at how mobile phones and social networking sites - often seen as threatening to teachers’ and students’ well-being – can be used beneficially in education.

Friend or foe: Are mobile phones helpful for teaching or a threat to teachers?


obile phones have revolutionised the way we interact, play and capture moments of our lives. We depend upon them so much we often feel lost without them, but mobile phones also have a well-publicised darker side. When Peter Harvey was cleared of attempting to murder a pupil in his class with a dumb bell last month, he was given the full support of the NASUWT. The union was pleased with the verdict of ‘not guilty’ and reiterated their desire for tighter restrictions to be placed upon the use of mobile technology in schools. This was after it came out that pupils in Mr Harvey’s class purposefully aggravated him and filmed his reaction on a mobile phone. They intended to share the video with

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other students that were doing the same thing in other classes. Following Mr Harvey’s acquittal, Chris Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT, said: “Once again inappropriate use of mobile technology in the hands of pupils raises its head and was a catalyst for a large part of the behaviour. Pupils were clearly playing to the camera.

The NASUWT has welcomed guidance already issued on the use of mobile technology but it is clear all of this needs to be revisited in the light of this and other similar cases.” In 2007, NASUWT began campaigning against ‘cyberbullying’. While a government crackdown on cyberbullying was in place, it was criticised as focussing too heavily upon pupils who are victims of it and not doing enough to assist the teachers who were also victims. At the time Ms Keates said: “Pupils who once had to content themselves with exhibiting poor behaviour when face to face with the teacher, now increasingly use technology from a distance to support their indiscipline. I have sent to Ministers examples of teachers being abused and


e-learning reports

bullied by mobile phones, emails and, most frequently, websites such as Bebo and RateMyTeachers. These sites are fed by pupils’ misuse of mobile phones. The time has come for mobiles in schools to be placed in the category of a potentially offensive weapon and action taken to prevent their use by pupils while on school premises.” But mobile technology has been proven to help teaching and learning. The Mobile Learning Network (MoLeNET) programme, led by the Learning and Skills Network (LSN), has implemented the use of mobile learning technologies in colleges throughout the UK. “The MoLeNET programme has been running since 2007 and has engaged with 115 colleges, 3,400 members of staff and over 21,000 learners,” said Keith Kilpatrick, Assistant Director of LSN and leader of their Technology Enabled Learning offer. “Achievement across the whole sector – that’s actual achievement of a qualification – has gone up by 13 per cent. And some will report higher than that, obviously, because it is an average figure. Retention has gone up by 7.5 per cent. And given the fact that colleges are dealing with quite a lot of learners that have rejected other forms of education, to be able to lift retention across the board by 7.5 per cent is very significant. “We would encourage the use of [mobile technology] because we see it as having a very positive impact on a lot of learners, particularly young people

who are struggling a bit with literacy and numeracy skills or struggling to engage with the formality of other learning. This seems to help get them get engaged and achieving.” Truro College, Cornwall, engaged 103 students and 32 staff in the

MoLeNET project. They used Samsung Omnia Smartphones to assist what they established as potential NEETs (young people Not in Education, Employment or Training) with their practical work in IT workshops and the collection of photographic material for media portfolios. The project enabled the students to become ‘24/7 learners’ – providing them access to resources in and out of the classroom. They were able to research, action and record their learning activities all of the time. This is one of the advantages of mobile learning that the MoLeNET programme aims to foreground: “It’s not just being used in the classroom.

Tutors can use it to support learners outside of the classroom. For example, they can send them homework reminders. If the student is absent or not engaging for a particular length of time, they can communicate with them by text. And there are various applications that can be used to support learners outside of the classroom,” said Mr Kilpatrick. Teachers who experience mobile learning are almost always very positive towards it, with LSN reporting figures of 93 per cent of teachers feeling that mobile technology can help their students to learn, and 94 per cent wanting to use it again in the future. “There is no doubt that mobile technology has a place in the classroom and I have a number of ideas for implementation next year.” Mobile phones are a technology that will not go away, simply because of how useful they are. As with all technology, some will try to use them to harm others. So, for mobile phones to benefit education and not hinder it, students must be trained how to use them appropriately and effectively. Keith Kilpatrick said: “We see mobile phones as a very powerful learning tool. Obviously they have to be used safely, but we think this responsibility rests both with the students and the schools and colleges to come up with policies whereby they can be used safely. The technology is out there and we think you’re just missing the boat if it isn’t embraced and harnessed positively.”

Twitter and teaching How the social networking site can benefit education


n just four years Twitter has become an Internet sensation, creating an entire subcategory of websites, software and even literature devoted to it. As more and more people join and ‘tweet’ about their lives we look at how this social networking site can help teachers inside and outside school. The premise of Twitter is extremely


simple: say what you are doing in 140 characters or less and see what others are doing too.

Inside school Children and young people are perceived as typically being ‘digital natives’. As such, social networking sites are hugely popular among them. When they

separate from their friends at the end of the school day they can easily log in to sites like Twitter to give each other up to the minute information about the rest of their day. But what about when they are in school? Twitter can keep pupils informed about their lessons, letting them know

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e-learning reports

what equipment they may need or perhaps informing them of a room change. Many teachers are already wise to the benefits of Twitter, so much so that there is a well circulated presentation – ‘30 interesting ways and tips to use Twitter in the classroom’ – being added to by teachers. According to the presentation, teachers can inject some interest into their classes by using Twitter as a host for their classes’ very own Twitterature. Children are able to get a small taste of history with sites like, and then produce their own tweets that summarise a historical event. While it can easily be dismissed as a knee-jerk gimmick, ‘Twitterature’ has already proven to be a hit. The Penguin book of that title, which reduces literary classics to a series of ‘tweets’ written by Alexander Aciman and Emmett Rensin, received praise from The Daily Mail, The Sunday Times and The Guardian. Laura Doggett (@lauradoggett), director of e-learning at Westfield Community Technology College, Watford, is an advocate of Twitter, but warns that there has to be preparation for its deployment in class. She said: “It requires a certain degree of ‘letting go’ for staff to let students loose in this way and I would probably not choose to work with a large class on Twitter without a lot of work on communication skills, e-safety and appropriateness. There are a host of e-safety concerns to be considered when safeguarding students on the Internet. Twitter, like any other open social networking tool, can be host to undesirable influences. Students are never more than a few curious clicks away from inappropriate material.  “I have used it with students for BectaX where my school was one of a group of nation-wide schools participating online via Twitter and video-conferencing in a conference about technology in education. The students thoroughly enjoyed using Twitter and got a great deal out the day.” At BectaX, the issue of how children would behave on social networking sites like Twitter was touched upon by Annette France, headteacher of Chipping Campden School, Gloucestershire. She said: “Everybody becomes risk averse and

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afraid of the anxieties. But the analogy I use is: I bought my children bicycles. I knew they could be killed on the road, but they went to cycling proficiency, they learnt how to maintain their bikes and they got off and they rode. And I think social networking sites could be like that.” So, while there may be a place for Twitter in class, there is must be a degree of caution to ensure students use it safely and correctly.

Outside school Away from school, when pupils and colleagues are not immediately reachable, Twitter has revealed its real power. Many excuses for homework can be eliminated as Twitter gives teachers the opportunity to remind their class of objectives and deadlines. Also, by shrinking the URL through a site like bit. ly, teachers can post a link to websites along with brief instructions on how they may help.

Twitter also creates opportunities for professional development. Teachers have the chance to follow and speak to other teachers about work they plan for their class and get valuable feedback. This can include hints and tips from professionals all over the world. The power of Twitter as a tool for

professional development is embodied in movemeon, a book of tweets edited by ICT teachers, Doug Belshaw (@dajbelshaw) and Stuart Ridout (@ stuartridout). The tweets in the book, which is available for free online as a PDF download, provide advice for various aspects of teaching, including activities for pupils, behaviour management and using technology. Having the best advice available so readily is a great asset for teachers,

especially as the profession changes rapidly with the incorporation of new technologies. It is no surprise then, that this will excite teachers. Laura Doggett said: “The sharing of resources, ideas and best practice using Twitter is a real buzz for me and makes my teaching better, hones my leadership and management skills and acts as a real stimulus for my professional creativity. I am much more in favour of using Twitter to develop my own personal learning network (PLN) which allows me to tap into areas of global knowledge, innovation and expertise far beyond anything I can experience face to face or in school.” The benefits of Twitter are not exclusive to teachers and pupils though; the actual schools can maintain a presence on the social networking site to engage with their local community, as well as those from further away who they wish to keep informed. “I think this is already happening where there is a demand for it,” said Ms Doggett. “Building a following for school Twitter streams may take time, energy and skill, but I believe is wholly worthwhile. It goes without saying that schools can benefit enormously from tools like Twitter and they may represent the style of things to come in the postVLE era.”



Working in a classroom without walls Jan Webb describes how the innovative use of technology has literally opened up the world to her pupils.


teach a year 4 class (aged 8/9) in a small rural school and have been using collaboration projects in my class over the last year in order to enhance learning, initially with Temasek School in Singapore and Hornbill School in Brunei. The collaborations came about as a result of introducing a learning platform (virtual learning environment) into our school. Because this was at a time


when there were many new initiatives for us to implement – the primary framework and APP for literacy and maths – we needed to ensure that any use would be relevant and worth the time and effort to incorporate across the school. If the learning platform was going to be used for learning and not just as a glorified website, we needed to be convinced that there would be an educational

Creative Teaching & Learning n Volume 1.2


impact and that it would not just be “another thing” to be squeezed into an already packed curriculum. My role was to water the seeds of these new ideas and find out if they would be flowers or weeds by trying out the tools and sharing them with colleagues if and when they proved useful! For me, a huge step forward in using the platform for learning happened when wikis were introduced. (A wiki is a website that allows the creation and editing of interlinked webpages.) The potential of wikis quickly became apparent as I tried them out with the children in small projects, such as building collections of words with similar spelling patterns: now the work the children were doing was no longer kept to themselves or only published once it was finished and polished. Technology has often been used as a tool for publishing final work but now collaboration on the work in progress was being helped through using the technology.

typed over each other’s additions – but the history tool on the wiki enabled us to simply copy and paste “old” content back into the pages we wanted it to appear in. In the process, the children learnt how to problem-solve when trying out new technology – we learnt together. Children were able to use the comment tool on the wiki to give feedback to each other across the world about the work they had done.

Collaboration Then came the opportunity to work with another school – Temasek. After a flurry of e-mails, we were able to find some common objectives for our project. Forums were initially suggested as a means for the children to be able to gain a broader understanding of life in other countries. These enabled the children to ask each other questions about their lifestyles, their similarities and differences. They were able to develop their understanding of the world by talking to each other. The time differences weren’t a hindrance to the project (but we needed to learn about those differences too!) because the children could see replies to their questions when they went online at school or home in their own time zones. We discussed how to stay safe online by thinking about what information the children would make public in the forum, and they created their own avatars to use in place of photos. Online maps were invaluable for us to be able to find out where Singapore is: Multimap was used to explore the location, as well as Google Earth. This first collaboration grew to include wikis to build information pages about Healthy Living. Now the children were being “co-creators” of the information that was going to be included online; they had to do some research. Some of this took place online, some through class discussion and some through research in books. The suggestions for Healthy Living topics varied between the two schools: our school is a Healthy School and my class suggested aspects of mental and social well-being – bullying, keeping safe – as well as topics about fitness and healthy eating that were in common with Temasek. Because their work was going to be seen by others, there was a certain amount of care taken! They would check each other’s spelling and punctuation, making suggestions and/or corrections without me needing to prompt them. They made attempts not to replicate what each other had said. We made mistakes - some of the work got deleted as they

Volume 1.2 n Creative Teaching & Learning

Hornbill School in Brunei

They would check each other’s spelling and punctuation, making suggestions and/or corrections without me needing to prompt them The third dimension of our collaboration with Temasek was our Moving and Growing science investigation. The concept of measuring bodies to find out what happens to the bones as we get older is not a new one and in the past we have borrowed volunteers from other classes in the school in order to get some data from which to draw conclusions. This time we also invited the children from Temasek to join in our experiment. We took some photos to demonstrate which parts of the body we were measuring (height, length of arm, length of leg, foot size, etc) in order for our investigation to be fair. All our results were then combined in an excel spreadsheet: using the graphing function helped the children to identify the general increase in height, as well as spotting the differences within an age group. The trends were the same when we included the data from Singapore, reinforcing the concept that we have a lot in common with children from the other side of the world. Presenting the



Temasek School in Singapore

information not only covered our science investigation, but also learning objectives from Maths. The Temasek project took place over one week.

The Hornbill Project Now the children and I were quite confident about using wikis and forums, we wanted to find out more about our Rainforest topic. Our learning platform provider, University, put us in touch with Hornbill School in Brunei and we asked them to visit the rainforest on our behalf – our “virtual” school trip. They were able to bring back and share their experiences on the forum and the wiki through photos and writing. The forum provoked some interesting discussions, notably about whether or not they have snow in Brunei - one girl was able to share a picture of her house covered in snow! The information pages produced this time presented what the children found out about various aspects of life in the rainforest. The quality of the discussion on each of the pages improved this time, as the tools were more familiar and the focus was shifting from the novelty of the technology to emphasis on the learning. The project also benefited from being spread over three to four weeks, which enabled a more in-depth shared study, and also from hosting the forum and wiki on just one school learning platform rather than doubling up by using each school’s. The third dimension in the Hornbill project was persuasive “writing”, using the children’s online research to plan and record radio adverts about saving the rainforest. Recordings were made using Audacity and online search engines enabled pupils to find appropriate free sound files to use in their final edited version. The adverts were then published on the learning platform for pupils at Hornbill and for our own pupils’ parents to listen to. So how did the project support learning? The pupils were engaged and motivated by being able to talk to other children from across the world – the social aspects


of the collaboration certainly caught their imagination sufficiently that they wanted to check replies and feedback whether they were in school, at home or on holiday! They had developed sufficient skills in the preceding two terms to be confident in using the editor on the learning platform and they could upload pictures/sound. By the time the Temasek project had finished they were comfortable with the techniques used for peer support, collaboration and co-construction of the wikis and forums – to the extent that the technology was becoming like wallpaper that has been up for a while and is no longer noticed. The focus was on the learning not on the tools we were using! The discussions that were triggered both by the work with Temasek and Hornbill spilled over into less technological areas, such as creating rainforest artwork based on the work of Charley Harper. As well as the wallpaper effect, there was a definite snowball effect – taking the points in the discussions from wikis and/or forums and finding out more through personal research and building on what others had already found without starting from scratch. The pupils had more ownership of their work than I had probably given them during previous topic work – in itself, that is a powerful motivating tool. The whole project managed to cover a variety of curriculum areas – killing many birds with one stone and thus freeing up the time for pupils to explore the topics they covered in depth. The future of collaboration through technology seems set to continue in our school as we incorporate skype, embed web 2.0 tools like voicethread into our learning platform and spread the techniques and tools through the whole school. The recent recognition at the European Innovative Education Forum was merely the icing on the cake – what matters most is making the learning interesting, effective and fun for our students. Jan Webb teaches at Weston Primary School, Cheshire

Creative Teaching & Learning n Volume 1.2

Intelligent Learning Motivating students to become independent and effective learners. Written and presented By Steve Williams Acclaimed by the NUT These questions are the golden grails of modern teaching. The government has sought to address them by numerous initiatives… But none of these initiatives have succeeded as they might have done because they ignore the key question. ‘What sort of teaching is needed to achieve these goals?’


hat sort of teaching allows students to take ownership of their own learning? What will motivate and excite children’s curiosity and haul them out of passivity? What style of teaching will develop their intellectual skills to the point that they can become effective agents of enquiry in any field? How can we make lessons exciting and creative for students and teachers?

Intelligent Learning is a teaching practice course, executed through six half hour video sessions, which address in detail the changes in pedagogy you and your school need to introduce to start addressing the issues of motivation and becoming a thinking and learning community.

and engagement. Their questions dominate the learning agenda and the ownership of learning follows. At the end of the course teachers will have the skills and practical strategies to: • • • • •

facilitate more and more sophisticated student questioning support children in using concepts to organise their thinking manage dialogue and discussion to develop children’s ideas plan lessons and study programmes that promotes questioning and dialogue create communities of enquiry in their classroom

The central theme of the course is to give students the skills to ask more and searching questions. …it’s the questioning skills, not of the teacher but of the student that really counts in developing their cognitive abilities

In the pack are: • Six half hour videos on DVD • Supporting guides for each video, written by programme users in schools themselves • A CD of supporting articles and materials to stimulate professional development and curriculum design

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8/6/10 16:13:40


Integrating digital literacy in the classroom Cassie Hague and Sarah Payton argue that technology should be much more than a mere ‘add-on’ to subject teaching - and show how technology was integrated into a geography project.


Creative Teaching & Learning n Volume 1.2



he skills, knowledge and understanding of digital literacy are becoming indispensible as young people grow up in a world in which digital technology and media play an ever more important role in people’s social, economic, civic, intellectual and cultural lives. If schools are to support young people to thrive and fully participate in increasingly digital societies, then the literacy practices that allow them to make meaningful and creative use of technology should be supported in the classroom. There can sometimes be pressure on teachers to use technology in the classroom solely to make learning more engaging. The use of computers, the internet and other technologies can appear to be just one more thing teachers have to fit in to a busy schedule. In these circumstances, there’s a danger that technology may simply be ‘boltedon’ to what’s already happening in school rather than being used in an integrated way that supports teaching and learning. Many teachers, however, are recognising the need to move beyond this and to foster creative and critical thinking about technology and its use both in the classroom and beyond.

cultural heritages and being aware of the social and cultural contexts in which digital media is created and used. The creative aspect of digital literacy involves the ability to think creatively and imaginatively when using technology to create outputs and represent knowledge in different formats and modes. It means knowing when and how digital technology can support creative processes, and thinking creatively about technology and with technology. When creating their own digital media content young people can begin to question and understand how the digital media world is created by others. Just as students have created a website for a particular audience, so websites they visit have been created for certain audiences and to communicate certain messages. There are many commentators who therefore suggest that digital literacy involves practices of both critical consumption and creative production. Young people need to learn how to be critical in how they consume digital media and they also need to learn how to create and produce meaning through their use of digital technologies.

What is digital literacy?

Why is digital literacy important?

Digital literacy is a wide-ranging set of practices that enable students to create, share and understand meaning and knowledge in an increasingly digital age. It means having the skills, knowledge and understanding that enable them to be astute and savvy about whether and how they use technology for a wide range of purposes. Digital literacy supports young people’s engagement with technology, whether this involves using the internet for research, creating an online video to showcase their knowledge or talent, updating a social media website or playing a video game. It can be helpful to think of digital literacy as composed of several inter-related components:

There is much to be excited about in terms of the possibilities that digital technologies offer for children’s self-expression, creativity and learning. Technologies such as the internet can offer extensive opportunities for informal learning and for expanding where, how, what and with whom children learn. However, it is important that all young people develop the skills, knowledge and understanding required not only to make discerning use of these opportunities, but also to question them and recognise the challenges associated with digital technologies Whilst some children might be making extensive use of technology outside of the classroom, not all students have the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to apply to their use of digital technologies. Students frequently struggle with their research skills when searching for relevant information on the Internet, for example. They can find it hard to select the information they need. Teachers who set research tasks as homework complain of ‘copy and paste syndrome’, the situation in which they find entire chunks of, often only vaguely relevant, information which has been copied and pasted from a website into a student’s homework without the student engaging with its content. Developing digital literacy across the curriculum is about more than motivating and engaging learners with digital technology; it’s about supporting young people to make sense of the world and to make decisions about their participation in social, cultural, economic, civic and intellectual life both now and in the future. Fostering digital literacy in the classroom also makes subject learning relevant to a society in which growing technology use is changing the way that both adults and

● Critical thinking ● Cultural and social understanding ● Creativity ● Collaboration ● Effective communication ● The ability to find and select information ● E-safety ● Functional skills

Critical thinking in this context means being able to use reasoning skills to engage with digital media and its content, to question, analyse, scrutinise and evaluate it and to formulate and support arguments about it and the way it is used. Cultural and social understanding signifies the ability to recognise that there are social, cultural and historical influences that shape the creation of digital content and our understanding of it. This involves understanding how our own and others’ perspectives have been informed by

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children represent and communicate information and meaning and participate in cultural life. Diverse sources of knowledge are now more accessible via the Internet, and knowledge is more regularly shared and updated. This has implications for school subject disciplines. Textbooks, for example, cannot be relied upon to contain all of the information needed to become an expert in a particular subject discipline. The ways in which subject knowledge is developed and communicated are also changing, and there is a greater choice of formats available in which to present and communicate information. Therefore, being a competent, discerning and creative user of technology and being able to effectively search for, verify, share and communicate knowledge is an important part of developing as a subject expert in all areas of the curriculum. Teachers are ideally placed to help young people develop, not only more competent search skills but also the critical thinking skills that allow them to question and determine the reliability of information they find on the internet. Teachers can also support the other elements of digital literacy; they can help students to be creative, to collaborate, to communicate effectively and to develop cultural and social understandings and to know when technology can best be used to support these processes.


How can teachers foster digital literacy in subject teaching? All of the aspects of digital literacy are already closely interlinked, and developing one aspect will often involve students making use of others. When students are successfully collaborating, for example, they are likely to be developing their communication skills simultaneously. When students are thinking critically they can also be developing social and cultural understanding, thinking about how to communicate with particular audiences, and staying safe. Futurelab, an education research and development organisation that aims to transform learning via innovative practice and the use of technology, recently ran a project that explored classroom approaches to developing students’ digital literacy alongside subject knowledge. Fourteen primary and secondary teachers worked together with researchers to explore the concept of digital literacy and its relation to subject learning and to think about how they might develop their students’ digital literacy from within work already planned and scheduled for a particular half term. They designed teaching activities aimed at fostering digital literacy alongside subject knowledge and trialled these activities in their own classrooms. Ben Cotton, a Geography teacher from St Katherine’s School in North Somerset, was particularly interested in encouraging creativity in his classroom and wanted to look at the role that

Creative Teaching & Learning n Volume 1.2


digital literacy could play in supporting that. His Year 9 students conceived of in the classroom. There was a need for critical undertook a project in which they worked in groups in order thinking, reflection, evaluation and for making space and to create an artefact to reflect and communicate the ‘beauty time to create an atmosphere of debate and discussion about and the terror of our fractured Earth.’ both subject knowledge and technology use. For teachers He sought to encourage independent learning and develop and students who have become accustomed to learning digital literacy by giving students responsibility for managing in classrooms where the imperative to complete an output the process and for choosing from a range of technologies in a given time has been paramount, slowing the pace and in order to effectively support their work. The brief was allowing time for critical thought was difficult at first. deliberately very open in order to encourage creativity in the Teachers who built in regular opportunities for reflection, use of the digital resources. creative thinking and critical discussion in class had more Some groups made models of volcanoes erupting, success in supporting students to evaluate, for example, which they then filmed, and others produced short films whether they were using the most appropriate technology to music using superimposed text giving to provide key for communicating their ideas, whether they were considering information about earthquakes. One particular group, who their audience and how well they were collaborating. called themselves the ‘World Creative Association’ or WCA, Teachers also found that students became, and indeed chose to apply their existing out of school interests to a needed to become, more independent in their learning during classroom situation by creating a Lego stop-motion animation the activities. The teachers spoke of a need for building good representing what it might be like to be in an earthquake. relationships in the classroom and for providing enough At Headley Park primary school in Bristol, two classes of year structure and guidance to support students to develop their three pupils explored the process of changing and making creativity and work independently. meaning using animation. This was a new role for the Working in small groups they In developing students’ digital literacy, teachers teachers, one in which, as well took adventure stories they as directly teaching students, had written and looked at were initiating a culture shift in the way in they were also guiding and how they might re-tell these facilitating them in their stories for a younger audience which technology is conceived of in the learning. Far from this being of reception and Year 1 a passive role, teachers found children, using animation. classroom they needed to be responsive Supported by their teachers to the students, questioning they considered what they already knew about animation and and prompting them to go beyond the boundaries of their learnt about the history of it, in order to make some of the current understandings. cultural and social context of animation more explicit. Teachers involved in the project also found that digital The children were then asked to plan their animation by literacy can support both National Curriculum aims and a deciding on five key parts of their original story that needed school’s own educational ethos. For example, a secondary to be included and re-told in this new format. They were given science teacher found that in addition to supporting his time to creatively explore the method of animation their class students to become digitally literate subject specialists he was were using and then worked collaboratively to create their also able to address a whole-school focus on communication cartoons. One class created stop motion animations making skills. Other teachers found that synergies existed with the plasticine models and taking sequential digital photographs secondary National Curriculum’s personal learning and of them in different positions. The photographs were then thinking skills framework. ‘stitched’ together using a free online movie-making tool. The At a time when the National Curriculum aims to reduce other class created drawings using a computer art package and prescription and give schools more flexibility, practitioners then uploaded their images to PowerPoint slides. potentially have more opportunities to explore new ways of Afterwards the children were supported to reflect on their learning in the classroom that respond to the needs of their own and each other’s work by considering which stories had students. Digital literacy can both support and be supported been well told in animation form and why, which were suitable by these aims and opportunities. for the audience and which method of animation had been the most suitable for the task. A practitioner handbook and the project case studies can be found at implications participation The project represents the teachers’ first steps in developing Becta have also recently produced a framework aimed students’ digital literacy in their classroom and although at supporting teachers to integrate digital literacy into their each had their own unique classroom approach, there were classroom teaching similarities in their experiences and the implications for their ection=tl&catcode=ss_tl_dl_02 classroom practice. In developing students’ digital literacy, teachers were Cassie Hague and Sarah Payton are researchers with initiating a culture shift in the way in which technology is Futurelab.

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Critical Thinking

The Secret Life of Images Critical thinking through visual images in the inclusive classroom: Tony Hurlin reveals all.


ow do young children learn to de-code and interpret images? How do they set about the task of unravelling the meaning of complex images? How to they learn to make informed, personal judgements about them? These are some of the questions that Tony Hurlin has been talking and thinking about with teachers and children over the last few years. In this contribution Tony explains and illustrates the ways that critical thinking can be taught through a single image - The Woodsman’s Daughter by Sir John Everett Millais. In the first part Tony outlines some of the underlying principles of teaching critical thinking through images. In the second part he focuses on the practical application of these principles in lessons that he has actually taught.


The Woodsman’s Daughter 1851 This is a painting by Sir John Everett Millais, the PreRaphaelite painter. The Woodsman’s Daughter is typical of a genre of painting known as English Romanticism. The image invites children to make a direct, personal connection with its central themes, and explore its secret life. The children come to recognise that the separate visual elements in Millais’ picture are not merely recorded representations of an incidence in action, but different forms of thought depicted through painted marks on the canvas.

Images, icons and symbols in 21st Century learning Recent, rapid technological advances have created the information society in which all children live. The most significant feature of this process has been the systematic creation and dissemination of a relentless stream of

Creative Teaching & Learning n Volume 1.2

Critical Thinking

Why did Millais put a stick into the boy’s hand? Why didn’t he paint a flower in the boy’s hand instead? What difference would it make to the picture if he had? Every child can learn to ask and answer questions like these, so long as the idea of inclusivity is at the heart of the culture of learning and teaching in the school and classroom. Inclusivity is about making every lesson count for every child. Every child can succeed in an atmosphere where every contribution is valued.

Choosing images to develop critical thinking in children An encounter with an image like The Woodsman’s Daughter disrupts the child’s world and simultaneously opens up another. Children enjoy looking, talking and thinking about images in this genre, because trying to unravel the artist’s meaning is always speculative. In order to read images purposefully and effectively, children need to master two distinct, but closely-related, sets of basic skills: the skills of iconography and the skills of critical thinking. These basic skills are underpinned by six focal points for learning: cognitive and practical activities that children need to understand and apply in every lesson.

The Woodsman’s Daughter, 1851. Sir John Everett Millais: Oil on canvas, 84 x 65 cm Guildhall Art Gallery, City of London

complex images that are present in every aspect of children’s daily lives. At the beginning of the 21st century many children have become accustomed to looking at more and seeing less. Visual enquiry, looking critically at images and making informed judgements about the messages they convey, is an essential tool for learning in the 21st century – a set of skills that can be learned like any other. Recent, practical work in classrooms shows that focusing children’s attention on single images is an important means of helping children understand the generality of all images. The Woodsman’s Daughter has been chosen to illustrate and exemplify this process.

The importance of images in the teaching of critical thinking The creation of an image is an act of choice, or a series of acts of choice. Developing an understanding of these acts of choice is at the heart of thinking critically about images. Iconography is the name given to the study of images through the application of visual and critical enquiry. In order to help all children learn the skills of critical thinking, teachers and parents need to acquire the ability to ask questions that will help children see behind the image and look at its secret life. Here are some questions that teachers have used about the iconography of The Woodsman’s Daughter:

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The Six Focal points for learning critical thinking through images ● De-code the iconography of images ● Find points of recognition ● Frame and ask authentic questions ● Look and think beyond the obvious ● Distinguish what is important from what is not ● Make and assess explanations

Let’s explore the practical application of the six focal points for learning through a critical examination of the iconography of The Woodsman’s Daughter. We’ll begin with a definition of each of the focal points and illustrate each of them by examples of what children have actually said in lessons: ● De-code the iconography of the image: Children are

taught to look at the painting with a sustained focus of attention. This visual process is similar to reading words and sentences in blocks of text, requiring many of the same skills. Let’s look at the painting quietly for about a minute ‘inside our own minds’…………… When I ask you, tell us about something you found very interesting in the painting.. “It was a boy and a girl standing close to each other in a wood and a man was working but he wasn’t even looking at them – he never saw the boy trying


Critical Thinking

to be kind by giving the girl a few strawberries.“ “The boy has white tights on and shoes like a girl’s – and they don’t look right right for playing in the wood.” ● Find points of recognition: Children make a direct,

unique relationship with the image by linking aspects of its content with personal experience. Children find points of recognition by looking at the internal affective complexity of the image: the way the maker has crafted the image, drafted, changed and altered it so that it hangs together in a way that speaks uniquely with the viewer.

a repertoire of basic skills to help them with sorting and categorising what they see, they are reduced to either describing the visual representations in the image or saying what they do or don’t like about it. Asking children to list what is important in an image is an important skill of iconography. This activity is highly inclusive – every child can find something in an image that’s important to them. “I think the strawberries are important because the girl can’t afford to buy them and he’s giving her some.”

“I really like strawberries –my mum sometimes puts them on top of a cake.’‘

“The wood is really important. That’s where it all happened and it’s where they met…….”

“We went to a place like that for a picnic – and there were some paths like that and we explored them.” Important note: Children who respond impulsively to images in terms of ‘like’ and ‘don’t like’ are reflecting a strong, emotional response to a positive or negative impression that they have already formed through habit, clichés of perception, opinions that are not their own or a learned lack of openness. Critical thinking provides an educational antidote to this form of behaviour.

● Make and Assess explanations: Providing explanations

● Frame and ask authentic questions: Create a

“Their shoes are so different because of where they come from – the girl is poor and the boy is rich.”

supported by evidence is at the heart of critical thinking. Explaining an image is cognitively more demanding than merely describing one. In the inclusive classroom every child is helped towards mastery of this important skill. Most children find explanations more interesting than descriptions.

classroom culture that gives children the confidence and opportunity to talk and think about real questions rather than pseudo-questions – the ones teachers think they ought to be asking.

“The man hasn’t seen what’s happening because he’s working so hard ……he’s so busy he’s missed seeing something that might be important.”

“Why is the boy leaning back like that – doesn’t he like the girl?” “Did the boy decide to wear that dress thing or did somebody make him do it?” ● Look and think beyond the obvious: Show children

how to explore the secret life of images by teaching them how to apply the critical thinking skills of association, inference, deduction and speculation. To be able to look beyond the obvious children need to be shown how to move away from the stage of listing and describing what is present in an image to explaining why it’s present and how its presence is significant . “The boy has a kind of power over the girl – he’s doing the giving and she depends on him if she wants the strawberries.” “Maybe the man is the girl’s father and the servant of the boy’s father…….?” ● Distinguish between what is important and what is

not: Children are sometimes overwhelmed when they are asked to look at complex images. Because they lack


What to do in lessons to help children decode the iconography of images (Two techniques are included for this skill – we can use both or either) 1.Time limited looking

This technique in visual cognition is a good way of getting children into the right mode for talking and thinking about different parts of images. When they look together at an unfamiliar painting like The Woodsman’s Daughter, firstly for five seconds and then for ten seconds, they discover that they see much more in the second look than the first: they learn to see much more than this when they look systematically at the image for about 30 seconds.

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Critical Thinking

Begin by asking the children to close their eyes. Tell them that they are going to look at a painting for firstly for five seconds, then for ten seconds and finally for about half a minute. After five seconds of looking the children will be able to recall the first, most important things they have seen, either orally, or by writing them on their white boards. The children will be quick to recognise the images in the painting that they didn’t see in the first look. They begin to think about how they look, what they see, what they don’t see and why! “In my first look I only really saw the children and a bit of the wood and the red on the boy’s shirt. I didn’t really notice the strawberries at all.” “In the long look I noticed the difference in their shoes – the girl is wearing dirty boots, but the boy’s wearing like a pair of sandals – and the boy seems to be hiding the cane behind his leg so that the girl can’t see it.” Looking at an image is an intensive, high impact activity. Time-limited looking is a way of teaching children to manage visual over-load. It is not a time-pressured activity. It’s about taking the time to focus the children’s attention on the most obvious elements depicted in the image and showing them how attention on different levels of imagery can reveal more and still more….. 2. Whole and part

prepare an explanation of why they chose the part and its importance in the whole of the image. For some children this will be enough. Exploring the relationships between the parts will rightly come later. “I picked the hand and the strawberries as my part. It fits in with the whole picture because it joins the boy to the girl.” Isolate a frame that shows thehand holding the strawberries here. “My parts are the girl’s shoes and the boy’s shoes and the silk ribbon round the boy’s neck.” Isolate three frames that show the girl’s shoes, the boy’s shoes and the ribbon here.

What to do in lessons to help children find points of recognition in images (Two techniques are included here – we can use both or either)

1 Telling anecdotal stories This technique is built around the idea of story-telling by children for children. It involves inviting the children to relate stories drawn from their personal experience that are focused on and around carefully selected key features in the whole image. This activity provides an important means of helping children of all abilities make points of recognition through a sense of personal engagement. Introduce the technique by offering children a limited choice of story. If necessary model the technique by telling your own story for the children to emulate. Some of the possible starting points for stories taken from iconography The Woodman’s Daughter are: Strawberries: Did anybody ever give you some strawberries?. Giving and receiving gifts: Try to remember the last time someone gave you something. hy did they do it? What have you given to people? Why did you do it? “Well, my Granny had some strawberries and she said ‘close your eyes’ and she pulled the green bits off and put them in my mouth. The first one was a surprise and it was fun and they were lovely.”

Whole and part is an important technique in critical thinking. Mastery of this core skill enables children to see more in images and make deeper meaning of what they see. It helps children unravel the internal complexity of The Woodsman’s Daughter and search for the kind of consistency and cohesion that is essential in making sense of the painting. Begin by showing the children the icon for whole and parts and explaining its purpose. Ask the children to draw a tiny part of the painting that they find interesting on a Post-it note or small piece of card. Allow them time to

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“We met a lady in Bridlington on holiday and on the last day she gave me a little house made of pottery. And I never gave her anything…She gave it as a present and she didn’t want anything in return.” 2 Making ‘know - don’t know - and not sure lists.’ This is a highly inclusive, confidence building activity that engages children with wide range of the basic skills of critical thinking. It can be used as both and individual and whole class activity – See Fig 1.


Critical Thinking


Don’t Know

Not sure

The boy has red hair

The girl lives in a little cottage

The wood isn’t near a town

The gift is some strawberries

Everyone knows each other

They boy has rich parents

The man hasn’t seen what’s happening

Where it is

The girl gets washed every day

Figure 1

Begin by asking individual children to point out one specific part of the image that we know is true for certain. Invite critical responses from the children using a repertoire of key questions to get them evaluating a judgement in relation to evidence. Make the activity inclusive by asking less able or less confident children to suggest certainties – children generally find them easier than ‘not sure’ judgements. What do we know for certain about something that’s in the picture? Is anyone a bit doubtful…..? Why? We are absolutely positive about that…. aren’t we? Allow plenty of time for a critical examination of each of the suggestions. When some sort of consensus emerges from the discussion add it to the appropriate column on the whole class list. Avoid closure of thinking by keeping the list, ready for children to write on, alongside a postersized reproduction of The Woodsman’s Daughter so that the children can add to or amend the list over time: “We can be sure that the man hasn’t seen what’s happening at this exact minute because is head is turned away” “We don’t know that they all know each other… they might do but there’s nothing that says it for certain.” “Just because the girl seems poor doesn’t always mean she doesn’t get washed….”

What to do in lessons to help children ask authentic questions The question is…..?


? ?

? ?

This technique is one of the core skills of critical thinking. It helps children discover personal starting points for learning that they choose for themselves. Give each child a piece of card about the size of a postage stamp with a question mark on one side. Ask the children to think of a question about The Woodsman’s Daughter and let them fix it to the area of the image to which their question applies. A question about the strawberries is placed on the strawberries - a question about the girl’s boots is placed on the boots. Ask the children to show their cards to the class and tell everyone their questions. List all the questions. In a typical lesson you can expect 15-20 of varying depth and complexity. Ask the children to choose three important questions that they would like to think about and follow through into lines of enquiry. Let the children work on the questions in pairs or threes and report their finding to the whole class. What is the boy holding in his hands? What’s that shading round the children’s heads for? Who is the man and what’s he doing?


Creative Teaching & Learning n Volume 1.2

Critical Thinking

What to do in lessons to help children think beyond the obvious




This important technique enables children to think beyond the physical confines of the two-dimensional image. It’s helpful in moving the children’s thinking away from the solely descriptive into more reflective and creative modes. Begin with the whole class group and work together on the ‘now’ aspect of the technique. The children describe what’s happening in the painting, the position of the figures, the most prominent objects and the detail in the background and foreground. In this process they are thinking within the obvious: it’s a very important skill but it takes little cognitive effort.

some strawberries from the big garden at his house as a present.” Finally, ask the children to turn their attention to what might happen after this incident took place. Tell them that their explanation must be a continuation of what happened founded on the now and before aspects of the image. Relying on the obvious becomes virtually impossible. The children are required to use the skills of speculation and prediction to determine the likely outcomes of two sets of connected action. “The woodcutter looked up and saw the boy giving the girl the strawberries. He shouted at the boy –‘hey, what are you doing?’ The boy was so frightened that dropped the strawberries and ran off.”

What to do in lessons to help children distinguish between what is important and what is not The concentric circles board

“A boy is giving a little girl some strawberries.” Prompt the children to think beyond the obvious by asking them to explain what must have happened immediately before this series of actions took place. Any credible explanation is valid so long as it takes full account of what’s happening in the ‘now’ aspect of the painting. Relying on the obvious becomes more difficult. The children have to make inferences as they imagine the likely antecedents of the incident. “A few days before the boy saw the girl with her father in the woods. He saw she was poor so he brought her

Volume 1.2 n Creative Teaching & Learning


Critical Thinking

This icon represents one of the key tools in of the process critical thinking. This technique helps children focus their attention on what is important in an image and what is not. It also provides an important cognitive tool that children can use to show the relative importance of different parts of a whole image. The icon illustrates how a trained and disciplined mind deals with the intricate relationship of visual and cognitive complexity in an image. The inner circle represents what the viewer decides is the most significant element in the image. Less important or relatively unimportant elements are placed on the periphery of the diagram, sometimes outside the outer circle. Begin with a few moments of private time looking. This is a technique that offers children the opportunity to look at an image in the ways they choose for as long they choose. It is an open-ended activity that works particularly well at the beginnings of lessons. A space of calm and quiet helps children make a personal response to a visual image and focus on any aspect of it without direction or restriction. Ask the children to identify five or so important parts of the painting and write or draw them on separate pieces of small card. The children then lay the cards out in random order. Their placement of cards denotes the relative importance that they attribute of the different elements of the painting they have chosen. Children typically tackle this activity by starting with aspects of the images that they recognise. “I put the strawberries in the middle circle because if there were no strawberries there wouldn’t be a picture.” “The plants and trees are in the last circle – they don’t really play a big part in the picture. They are just in the background.”

What to do in lessons to help children make explanations about images rather than just describing what they see This skill in critical thinking is important in looking at images, because it supports children in making the cognitive shift from describing what they see, to explaining the reasoning behind what they see. It’s called ‘Suppose I said to you………’ How to apply ‘Suppose I said to you ……..’ to The Woodsman’s Daughter Tell the children a couple of short, plausible stories about how this image might have been created. Invite them to look, think and talk about the iconography of the painting. Spend plenty of time looking at the ways in which all the parts of the painting contribute to whole of the image, using what they see as evidence to support their perceptions. Here are a couple of possible explanations for the children to consider: ‘Suppose I said to you…….. one day in 1850 a famous artist called Millais went for a walk in the woods. By chance


he saw a richly dressed young boy giving a poor girl some strawberries. Behind them a woodsman was chopping down a tree. Millais quickly realised that this would make a good painting. He asked the children to stand still in the position he first saw them, while he quickly sketched them. Later, he took out his paints and added colour to the picture. The painting became very famous. ‘Or suppose I said to you… day in 1850 a famous artist called Millais read a very sad poem about the love of a rich young boy for a poor country girl. The poem told of how they met in a wood and how the boy first showed his affection for the girl by giving her some strawberries. But the story ended in a terrible tragedy – the girl killed her baby and drowned herself because the boy’s parents refused to let them marry. Millais was so moved by the story that he decided to paint their first meeting. He went to the woods and painted a scene as realistically as he could. He paid for two young children to act as his models. They came to his studio where he made lots of sketches of them. He made sketches of figures chopping and cutting with an axe. He painted the best of these figures together with the children on to the background of the wood. The painting became very famous. Working in pairs the children compare and contrast the two possible explanations provided by the teacher so that they can tackle questions like these: ● Which story provides the most credible explanation of

how Millais created his painting? Try to give a couple of different reasons to support your ideas. ● What can you actually see in the painting that provides evidence for your judgement? ● Can you make up your own explanation of how Millais created the painting? Learning critical thinking through images is a continuous and developmental process for both teachers and children. Each new image and every new technique represents a step of the journey that’s there for children to enjoy for its own sake. Many children and their teachers have found the open-endedness of looking, thinking and talking about images simultaneously demanding and liberating. They are not deterred by the challenges of Learning without Limits, rather they are inspired and excited by them. Why not begin your journey with The Woodsman’s Daughter or any of the other twenty images that Tony discusses in his three -part book: Learning without Limits: using art to develop critical and creative thinking is available from Imaginative Minds: Tony Hurlin is a highly experienced teacher, headteacher, inspector for able child education and former registered inspector for OFTED. Currently he is an independent consultant working with children of all ages and abilities.

Creative Teaching & Learning n Volume 1.2

Creative Teaching & Learning

Cross curriculum Project PlaN

Engaging Hearts and Minds

Volume 1.2 n Creative Teaching & Learning


ENGAGING HEARTS AND MINDS l Cross curriculum Project Plan

Engaging Hearts and Minds – it’s a kind of magic! Head Teachers have voted to boycott the SATs – will teaching change as a result? What will happen to the Literacy Hour when teachers don’t feel the curriculum is restrained by the SATs? Ellen Lloyd has some answers.


llen taught Key Stage 2 for over 20 years. After 12 years of preparing Year 6 for the SATs she described herself as a SATSOID. She decided things had to change. As language coordinator and with responsibility for Global Citizenship and Sustainable Development (ESDGC in Wales), she abandoned the literacy hour and introduced a thematic approach to her teaching. In this article Ellen shows us how ESDGC can help teachers provide a thematic approach to the curriculum which engages children and delivers results. Ellen reminds us that good literature can inspire and engage, and teach children about the world. When children see the world, past and present, through the eyes of powerful characters, both imaginary and real, they can explore what it means to be human. When harnessed to the key task of the primary teacher – to teach literacy – a thematic approach can produce outstanding results. As teachers, we ask ourselves many questions concerning the curriculum we deliver and its impact on the children in our care. Can we do so with humanity and relevance? What values, attitudes and real life, transferrable skills will they take with them, to empower and enable them to become caring, critical, creative and effective members of their community? Will they be equipped to live in this changeable, uncertain world; to make decisions, to listen to and respect others and express their point of view with qualification? Are we imposing limitations on their minds or engaging in their real world by focusing on their fascinations, energy and imaginations? Are we utilizing the factors that facilitate


and enhance real learning and elicit caring and thinking skills of a higher order? I am reminded of W.B. Yeats’s comment that ‘education is not the filling of a pail but the lighting of a fire’. So how can we ‘light fires’ in the minds of our children? Kieran Egan, (1986) states that we need to embrace ‘the most powerful tool for learning that children bring with them to school...the power and educational uses of children’s imagination’ which he argues is, ‘the most powerful and energetic learning tool’ and that ‘engaging the at the heart of learning’ (2005) We want our children to question, understand, empathise, think, imagine and more. We want the MAGIC of discovery and learning, by utilizing what we have in front of our eyes – the amazing capabilities and possibilities of children’s minds: minds it is our responsibility to expand and stretch with permanent, irreversible changes. According to Oliver Wendell Holmes (in Fisher, 1998:135) ‘the mind once stretched by a new idea, never goes back to its original dimensions.’ Egan (1986) explains the power of narrative in engaging children’s imaginations and dealing with abstract issues. ‘Typical five-year olds could not define loyalty or courage,’ he says, ‘but they use the concept clearly in making sense of all kinds of stories.’ Children arrive at school with an experience of abstract concepts he calls ‘binary opposites’. Good and evil, kindness and cruelty, courage and cowardice, for example, are embodied in the characters, conflicts and structure of children’s stories. The story, therefore, is a way in – to convey values, judgements, empathy, questioning, issues – to think – to imagine within the safety of the story – and children love stories. As Lipman (1988) says ‘Literature does more than

Creative Teaching & Learning n Volume 1.2

ENGAGING HEARTS AND MINDS l Cross curriculum Project Plan

provide us with other worlds to dwell in. It suggests to us other ways of living in and thinking about the world we inhabit.’ We must harness what children can do, not limit them by our own parameters. We want to develop the affective, so that their development is not only enlargement of knowledge, but cognitive and emotional and social. As argued by Matthews (1994), ‘We owe them respect...not to dehumanize them’ but to treat them as ‘fellow human beings, and we should respect them for what they are as well as what they can become’. We want to employ the affective to promote cognitive development. It is essential that these cognitive tools to promote learning, consideration of values and issues are integral – not bolted on –and permeate the curriculum like a dye. With this backdrop, we can select suitable, relevant stories that will ‘light up’ the children’s imagination and bring in the magic factor that transcends knowledge – in short, ‘light fires’, deliver the curriculum and raise standards. The author of ‘Journey to Jo’burg’, Beverley Naidoo (2001: T.E.S) said, ‘Give me the heart and the head will follow’. The affective and the cognitive must be conjoined, never to be separated. It is false and problematic to make tenuous links. The choice of suitable resources and methodology is essential.

SELECTING APPROPRIATE TEXTS These materials were chosen as an integral part of a thematic scheme of work to sensitively raise issues surrounding Global Citizenship and Sustainable Development, whilst raising standards across the curriculum, especially in literacy, history, geography and ICT at upper Key Stage 2. The children enjoyed the beauty of these texts for their intrinsic and symbolic value. Then we asked of them: Why does this text work? Why is it so powerful? How has the writer conveyed so potent and powerful a message? We found the answer in the words. Different authors, different styles and different moments in time, but linked in their purpose to raise painful issues through the story – through the power of the words. The Texts ‘Ronnie the Red-eyed Tree frog’. Martin and Tanis Jordan. Picture book for older children ‘How can you buy the sky?’ Chief Seattle. Speech (1855) ‘We are birds of the same nest’. Poem ‘Fair’s Fair’ Leon Garfield. Short story ‘Street Child’ Berlie Doherty. Novel ‘Journey to Jo’burg’ Beverley Naidoo. Short novel ‘I have a Dream’ Martin Luther King. Speech (1963)

Ronnie the Red - eyed Tree Frog Gold star for : illustrations, issues.

Issues l l l l l

Fragility of our environment Greed and need Danger and safety Power and helplessness - (Egan’s binary opposites) Hero – Ronnie.

Brief Synopsis A picture book for older readers with great illustrations depicting the plight of a rainforest habitat under threat – the home of Ronnie and his wife Mabel. Ronnie is diminutive, yet big in courage and we follow his journey in his attempt to save his home. If animals could speak, this is what they’d say!

Objectives l l l

Empathise with the inhabitants, both human and animal, of an endangered area. Encounter the issues Look closely at the local and global effects of deforestation.

Thematic Activities Types of Writing, to include:

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l l l l

Newspaper reports Factfiles e.g. endangered animals Persuasive writing Letters e.g. to Greenpeace

Oracy l

l l

Discussion and debate. Groups prepare argument from the points of view of the interested parties: the landowner – the indigenous people – the animals, like Ronnie – government – conservationists and us, threatened by global warming. Hot-seating Role play

I.C.T. l l l

Internet research – prepare information sheets Newspaper articles using text flows, linking pages and dropping images Powerpoint presentations

Science Communication: search for, access and select relevant scientific information from a range of sources, including I.C.T. Range: Interdependence of organisms, food chains, habitats, adaptation, endangered species, eco-systems and deforestation.

Geography Skills: Locating places, environments and patterns. Understanding places, environments and processes – need for sustainability. Range: Caring for places and environments and the importance of being a global citizen. Investigating: Ask and answer questions. Communicating: express their own opinions and be aware that people have different points of view about places, environments and geographical issues e.g. fair trade. The children eagerly learned scientific and geographical facts because they were emotionally and affectively engaged. Their engagement in debate was evidence of their ability to articulate their opinions on the issues raised with confidence and clarity. This style of learning captures the hearts and minds. They were learning because they cared – perfect conditions for effective learning.

How can you buy the Sky? Chief Seattle Gold star for: Language and style. Issues.

Issues raised through the text l l l l

Need for global protection, conservation, sustainability. Greed and need Power and helplessness Priceless nature of our environment

This text is reproduced in Fisher’s ‘Poems for Thinking’. In 1855, Chief Seattle


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ENGAGING HEARTS AND MINDS l Cross curriculum Project Plan

addressed the U.S. government in an attempt to save the land of the Native American people. He challenges them to consider its greater value and how a price could not be put on it. Analysing the language of the speech reveals a skilful persuasive text. With the backdrop of our study of global fragility and abuse, these words resonated with newly enlightened minds. He uses simple, recognisable images to portray a potent and powerful message. Children recognised features of the style and their purpose; for example, ‘My mother told father told me’. He uses this strategy to reinforce the fact that this truth had been told by loved and trusted sources over time. He refers to the ‘perfumed flowers’ as his ‘sisters’, the ‘rivers’ as his ‘brothers’ and the ‘streams and rivers’ as the ‘blood of your grandfather’s grandfather’. In juxtaposing these images, he is confirming the crucial importance of our priceless natural world. After all, without life blood we would die, so why are we poisoning earth’s life blood? He uses emotive adjectives like’sacred’, ‘holy’ and ‘ghostly’ to convey the spiritual nature of our precious world. This speech was written in 1855 but has never been more relevant to our existence and survival on this planet.

Literacy activities l

Text marking of key words and phrases, e.g. references to family, features of the land, sacred words.

‘We are Birds of the Same Nest’ Gold star for: Style. Message. Instant writing frame.

Issues l l l

Sustainability Sharing responsibility Equality

Free translation from the Sanskrit Athava Veda: We are birds of the same nest, We may wear different skins, We may speak in different tongues, We may believe in different religions, We may belong to different cultures, Yet we share the same home – Our Earth Born on the same planet, Covered by the same skies, Gazing at the same stars, Breathing the same air, We must learn to progress together, Or miserably perish together, For we can live individually, But can only survive collectively Children used the pattern of the poem to create their own ‘Survival’ poems:

Writing Frame -Verse One We are...(common ground statement) We may...(differences, eg clothing) We may...(differences. eg. Language) We may ...(differences, eg. Beliefs) We may...(differences, e.g. Culture) Yet...............(‘we are all in this together’ type statement)

Verse Two Common ground in the natural world Born on the same planet ......same skies......same stars...............same air ‘Togetherness’ statement, e.g. sinking or swimming together ‘Living’ individually – a temporary state. ‘Survival’ together – a permanent state.

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ENGAGING HEARTS AND MINDS l Cross curriculum Project Plan

‘Fair’s Fair’ Leon Garfield Gold Star for: Author’s style - easily imitated, issues raised.

Issues l l l l l l l

Rich and Poor Fair –Unfair Responsibility and Sharing Kindness – cruelty Honesty – deceit Social inequality and injustice Heroes – Jackson; Lillypolly.

Brief Synopsis As part of our study of the Victorian Age, Garfield’s book raises issues, as the title suggests, of fairness, or the lack of it, in Victorian society. It is a short and simple story and its beauty lies in the author’s rich language and style. He has used a number of ‘literary devices’, outlined below, to paint the picture. Set in Victorian London, it is the story of street orphan Jackson who survives alone by running errands for whoever will pay him with food or money. One cold, snowy, winter’s night, he is sitting on a doorstep eating his wages – a pie, when he is approached by an enormous and fearsome dog. On his collar is a large key. Jackson, believing the dog to be lost, accompanies him in search of the door the key will fit.

Literacy Text marking to identify aspects of Garfield’s style. l l l l

l l

Alliteration: e.g. ‘sat and snarled’ ‘guzzled and growled’ Repetition: e.g. ‘Dreadful weather, as hard and bitter as a quarrel. Dreadful weather, with snowflakes fighting in the wind and milk freezing in the pail.’ These devices were incorporated in the children’s personal writing. Simile: Garfield’s own specials , e.g. ‘What a room! As long as a street, nearly’. ‘ big as the night’ ‘...eyes like street lamps’. Children created their own collection of original similes. Negatives: e.g. ‘Not a light, not a glimmer, not a twinkle even. An old dead door with a letterbox as thin as a miser’s mouth.’ Children wrote their own descriptive piece using negative words to convey an atmosphere of fear. Amazing, Atmospheric Adjectives: e.g. dark, dead fearful, bleak. Children made their own AAA bank of wonderful words. Prepositions for description: e.g. below, beneath, beyond ,beside. Using prepositions, children wrote a description of an imaginary bleak house. The children were introduced to style analysis in this simple text and consequently were able to transfer the skill to analyse the styles of other, more challenging texts later on.


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ENGAGING HEARTS AND MINDS l Cross curriculum Project Plan

Street Child Berlie Doherty Winner of the Carnegie Medal Gold Star for: Empathy, historical content, issues.

Issues l l l l l l

Social injustice Kindness-Cruelty Prejudice Blindness to the plight of others Greed Heroes: Jim, Dr. Barnado.

Brief Synopsis The Victorian theme continues in this novel: the shame of the vulnerable abandoned on the streets, while Britain was expanding its empire and commerce during the Industrial Revolution. After being evicted from their home, Jim Jarvis’s widowed mother dies on the street and he is taken to the workhouse. He escapes into a dangerous and lonely place – London. He encounters others in the same situation as himself and somehow survives until his future is secured when he is taken in by Dr. Barnado. The story is based on a real boy, Jim Jarvis, who was indeed saved by Barnado in 1866. The author has imagined what his life was like before that.

Examples of Activities Literacy (These activities dovetailed with history reference books and websites, giving a more vivid and comprehensive picture of the time.) Text Marking, cloze, comprehension, characterisation, prediction, sequencing, grammar search, thesaurus and dictionary tasks, identifying previously encountered literary devices like alliteration, simile, repetition etc. Persuasive writing, fact or opinion, report, Dear Diary, newspaper articles, This is your life, Odd one out, Fortune Graphs and Book review.


Dr Barnado

Hot-seating, role play, freeze frame, debate and discussion on issues, Community of Enquiry.

History Skills to include Timelines, Key vocabulary, Chronological awareness. Knowledge and understanding to include identifying differences between ways of life at different times, identifying significant people and events. Interpretation – distinguish between fact and opinion, giving evidence

Skills across the curriculum Developing thinking through key questions and ideas. Communicating ideas, opinions, arguments and conclusions.

I.C.T. Internet research, biographies and fact files, powerpoint presentations. Finding, developing, creating and presenting information and ideas.

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ENGAGING HEARTS AND MINDS l Cross curriculum Project Plan

Journey to Jo’burg Beverley Naidoo Gold Star for: Issues of Racial Equality.

Issues l l l l l

Racial Equality Rich/ Poor Kindness/cruelty Bravery and courage Social injustice

Brief Synopsis Beverley Naidoo was born and raised in Johannesburg as a white South African under apartheid. At a young age, the family’s black cook and nanny collapsed in front of her. Two of her daughters had died of diphtheria. White children had been inoculated against the disease. The incident inspired this book. On going to university, she was made aware of the disgraceful system and became involved in resistance. She spent eight weeks in solitary confinement. Her books, which were banned until recently, tell future generations the lessons to be learnt from the mistakes of the past. Like ‘Street Child’, this story has its basis in truth with extracts from newspaper reports printed in the book. It is set against a backdrop of 1960’s South Africa at the height of its oppression. It is a moving story of 13 year old Naledi and her younger brother Tiro, who live with their grandmother and baby sister in the township, while their widowed mother lives and works as a maid in Johannesburg – a common plight with families at this time. When the baby sister falls desperately ill, and with no money for medical help, the children decide to go to Jo’burg to fetch their mother before it is too late. The story follows their journey. On reaching Jo’burg they are helped by teenager Grace who voices the inequalities in their society that they can see but do not understand. Issues are raised sensitively through Grace’s eyes. They find their mother and return to their township to save the baby’s life. This simple story portrays the harsh truths about the apartheid system and the contrast between the poverty and hardship of Naledi’s people and the wealth and affluence of the white ruling class.

Thematic Activities Literacy as before, with emphasis on issues raised by the book. Activities relating to the text l Empathy writing l Comprehension with inferential questions requiring higher order thinking skills l Concept-mapping on racism l Anti-racism posters l

Geography Study of Lesotho – an economically developing country. Comparison with home l Location l Looking at both capitals l Weather and climate l Living conditions l Creating a travel brochure l Settlements – features of localities l


Creative Teaching & Learning n Volume 1.2

ENGAGING HEARTS AND MINDS l Cross curriculum Project Plan

l l l l

Physical, political and economic features Trade, jobs Population and produce Similarities and differences – using photopack

I.C.T. l l

Activities as before, with focus on Nelson Mandela from protester, prisoner, peacemaker to President. e-mail

Art and Design Township art – designs used decorate the exteriors of township dwellings. Pastel work in the style of artist Tony Hudson. We used the beautiful work of the late artist to produce landscapes and portrait of the wonderful people and land of South Africa. See ‘Tony Hudson’s Images of Africa’ Dylan Hudson.

I HAVE A DREAM Martin Luther King Jr. Gold Star for: power and persuasion; style and structure; key vocabulary; imagery and metaphor; emotion and effect.

Issues l l

Racial Equality Social injustice

Brief Synopsis This memorable, persuasive speech is, arguably, the most effective ever written. It was delivered in Washington in 1963, with King, the orator, using everything in his emotional and literary power to present a potent, passionate and powerful argument. He was addressing thousands of people, the vast majority of whom were ordinary and poor, so his language and style was designed to be instantly understood and effective for that all- important instant reaction. Initially the language appears difficult, but on closer examination it clearly contains some of the literary devices we encountered in ‘Fair’s Fair’.

Some examples of text analysis l l l l

Key words: e.g. liberty, justice, equality, segregation Repetition: e.g. ‘Now is the time’ ‘Let freedom ring’ ‘I have a dream’ Binary opposites: e.g. ‘beautiful symphony’ and ‘jangling discords’; Reference to familiar things , like the landscape and weather, combined with opposites ,e.g. ‘racism’ is like ‘quicksand’ but ‘justice’ is a ‘solid rock’; ‘the sweltering summer of discontent’ and ‘the invigorating Autumn of freedom and equality’; ‘The whirlwinds of revolt’ and ‘the bright day of justice’.

So, why did it work? Why did it make a difference? Why is this speech so important? It is remembered and quoted today as a symbol of everything the key words stand for – freedom, liberty, justice and equality. It’s all about the WORDS – their unforgettable power and passion. Children wrote their own ‘Dream’ Speeches using some of King’s key features of persuasion and binary opposites to amazing effect. References Egan, K. (1986) Teaching as Story Telling. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Lipman, M. (1988) Philosophy goes to School. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, Matthews, G. (1994) The Philosophy of Childhood. Cambridge Mass: Havard University Press, Jordan, Martin and Tanis. (1994) Ronnie the Red-eyed Tree Frog. Kingfisher Books Ltd, Garfield, L. (1990) ‘Fair’s Fair’ (2008) ‘Gripping Tales’ Series: Wayland, Doherty, B. (1995) Street Child (2009) ‘Essential Modern Classics’: Harper Collins, Naidoo, B. (1985) Journey to Jo’burg (2008) ‘Essential Modern Classics’. London: Harper Collins, Websites,

Volume 1.2 n Creative Teaching & Learning


A major one day conference

Transforming classroom practice to create Intrinsic motivation in students

November 25th 2010 – The Langdale Centre, Langdale Gardens, Wallsend NE28 0HG A one day exploration on how classroom teaching needs to change to make teaching and learning more creative and effective. It will explore the practical and pedagogical issues of how to promote higher levels of student engagement, encourage Learner-driven Learning and embed a thinking skills approach throughout the curriculum.

Keynote Speakers

Sponsored by Creative Teaching and Learning Magazine and in conjunction with North Tyneside EAZ

Education Action Zone and trainer on the thinking skills programme Intelligent Learning, and Angi Gibson …the Head of New York Primary School.

Chris Watkins of the Institute of Education; a national trainer and writer on Learner Driven Learning

Gerry Miller the director of North East Tyneside

Tony Hurlin the internationally acclaimed writer and trainer on using images to develop children’s visual literacy and thinking skills in a visual and media dominated age Workshops The keynote speakers will lead practical workshops on transforming teaching and learning and will be joined by Nick Zenou, one of the top consultants working on the NCSL Fasttrack leadership programme looking at the school level management changes needed to promote greater levels of student motivation. The benefits: Delegates will leave the conference with a better understanding of: 1. The practical approaches used by schools and classroom

teachers to increase student motivation and instil a desire to become an independent learner 2. How to start transforming the curriculum, so that all

subjects and all teachers adopt an approach and teaching style which supports inquiry and learner-driven learning 3. The organisational changes at school and classroom level

needed to create a cultural change in teaching and learning 4. Some of the pedagogical and managerial obstacles in

existing practice that need to be overcome For more information, please visit: Brought to you by:

In association with:

Creative Teaching & Learning

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9/6/10 11:51:24

Transforming classroom practice Day Conference Conference timetable

A note on the keynote and seminar leaders

8:30 – 9:00 Registration

Chris Watkins is a fellow of the Institute of Education in London. He has written extensively on reforming classroom practice, most recently Effective Learning in Classrooms and Classrooms as Learning Communities.

9:00 – 9:15

Registration and Coffee.

9:30 – 10:15 Introduction to the day: Howard Sharron. 9:30 – 10:15 Gerri Miller and Angi Gibson 10:45 – 11:05 Coffee 11:05 – 12:42 Workshop1. Four workshops available: • Intelligent Learning (Developing Quality Talk for Active Minds) • Using Images to develop enquiring minds • Putting Learners in charge; the strategies and skills required • Changing school culture to support intrinsic motivation 12.25 - 1.15 End Workshops 2.

3:20 – 3:45 Discussion panel: The School Levers for Classroom Change. Chaired by Nick Zenou 3:30

Gerry Miller is the director of North Tyneside Education Action Zone and an independent trainer and consultant. He has written widely on Intelligent Learning and Thinking Skills. Angi Gibson is the headteacher of New York Primary School, a 261 pupil school in a tough Tyneside area. She has won plaudits for introducing Intelligent Learning and a thinking skills curriculum into her school.

21:15 – 2:00 Chris Watkins. 2:00 – 3:20

Tony Hurlin is the author of Learning Without Limits: Using Art to Develop Critical and Creative Thinking, of which Rachel Feneck, Education Director of NACE, said: ‘This is outstanding; it takes you to the nub of what is important in developing deep and challenging learning for all abilities.’ He was a former secondary headteacher, inspector for Hampshire and has trained in the UK and abroad.


Nick Zenou is a nationally known consultant who has worked for the NCSL and TDA. He specialises in student motivation, coaching and mentoring skills and effecting cultural change in schools.

25 November 2010 – The Langdale Centre, Langdale Gardens, Wallsend NE28 OHG FOUR EASY WAYS TO REGISTER

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Venue: The Langdale Centre, Langdale Gardens, Wallsend NE28 0HG Substitutions, cancellations and refund policy Substitutions welcome at any time. Written cancellations made four weeks before the conference date will be subject to a full refund. Written cancellations made two weeks before the conference date will be subject to a 50% + VAT refund per ticket. Cancellations made less than two weeks before the conference date cannot be refunded. All cancellations must be made in writing. Imaginative Minds reserves the right to alter the programme without notice due to unforeseen circumstances. We also reserve the right in our absolute discretion and without further liability to cancel the programme in which all monies will be refunded. Imaginative Minds Limited safeguard your data. We will endeavour to keep you informed of our other conferences and products where appropriate.

Transforiming Classroom AD v2.in3 3

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Discover a world of film There’s a whole world of film out there, and FILMCLUB aims to ensure that young people have the opportunity to experience the huge range of ideas, languages and cultures it has to offer. Free to state schools, FILMCLUB helps teachers set up inspiring film clubs with proven social and educational benefits. Every week, tens of thousands of students across the UK are watching, reviewing and discussing great films in after-school film clubs, making them more receptive to learning, and promoting a real sense of community. • 94% of FILMCLUB leaders say that their club develops children’s critical reasoning skills • 88% say FILMCLUB broadens children’s cultural understanding For thousands of films delivered free to your school, one-to-one teacher support and a resource-rich website that provides a platform for pupil voice, sign up at register, or call 020 7288 4520 for more information. “FILMCLUB allows us to screen films we might not normally see, to educate students culturally, and to generate discussion on a variety of topics.” Teacher, Kent

Take them on a school journey with a difference - FILMCLUB

Creative Teaching and Learning, volume 1.2  

A sample copy of Creative Teaching and Learning magazine, a publication dedicated to raising the standards of teaching and learning by devel...

Creative Teaching and Learning, volume 1.2  

A sample copy of Creative Teaching and Learning magazine, a publication dedicated to raising the standards of teaching and learning by devel...