I have increasingly been drawn to Geoff Petty’s ‘Evidenced Based Teaching’ as a way of improving what I do. My movement from content-based to criteria-based teaching sees me wanting to plan types of activities (like Julie Blake’s Full English), rather than simply deciding to work through an amount of content.

Graphic organisers are often used for the purposes of categorisation. As students seek to consolidate learning for higher performance, connecting aspects of knowledge to other concepts use an immensely useful activity. It is one of hte

My English teaching is founded upon the notion that making students perceive words as vessels of meaning that can be somewhat quantified (or at least qualified).

So, for example, a simple metaphor might be ‘the moon is a beachball’. There is an initial rush of realisation as characteristics are recognised across both concepts: both are round; both are solid objects (well, on the outside at least!); both respond to forces acted upon them.

However, both have distinct characteristics: a moon is associated with darkness, mystery, routine; a beachball is associated with childishness, frivolity and the sun.

A tensions exists as the ‘ghosts’ of connotation pass from one point of comparison to the other. It is not a mystery how a ball can provide so much stimulation on a beach for a child? Or are both the moon and a beachball in thrall to the sun, even though a beachball can technically be used anywhere? These associations may not be consciously expressed, but there are perhaps sensed in the subconscious, and can be expressed under analysis .

Developing the ability to recognise the variety of connections is key, I think, to EAL learners developing higher-level skills of analysis. Identifying points of connotation, and extending their relations, is the foundation for teaching analysis.

Without guidance at this point, I’m including a resource based upon Geoff Petty’s wonderful¬†Evidence Based Teaching.¬†It’s a series of graphic organisers you can adapt for students to help them consolidate knowledge and making connections. More on this to follow: