City & Guilds



Where do I find the time?

For CPD, one must make time.

Really enjoying the ‘Master Professional Practitioner Award for Career-Long Professional Learning’. I’ve passed Unit 1-Part 2 and hope to complete the Unit; engaging with HGIOS4 is coming up and forces me to do so.

I’ll see what comes of an application to join the EdD programme at Glasgow University; Plan B is a second Masters – this time the MEd at UWS, and only the dissertation phase.



Quantitative Methods

Since receiving very detailed and verbose feedback from the team at Press Start, I have been beavering away and ‘learning’ – well, copying examples from webpages, books, software, etc – about statistics particular to student testing. I’ve been covering mean values, produced bar charts in Excel with box plots and error bars, I’ve been using independent and dependent paired-t tests. Time to append to my ongoing ‘Professional Update’ activities.

I am far from being an expert, but I at least have the materials and exemplars with which to work if I have the need to do so again.

I have also discovered an interesting programming language – R – suited to data analysis, or more wondrously titled ;data mining’. I plan to put it through its paces with my current S2 class which has just begun its Mars mission.  I am becoming more interested in the use of the pronouns, ‘I’ and ‘We’ in association with collaborative learning with or without the use of a digital game. I will, as always, use Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) as the analytic lens.

More to follow.

Literacy and the Visual Image

I am continuing to undertake research into Game-based Learning, and single-gender teaching in particular. I’m reading a PhD on the classification of audio within digital games and their contributions to immersion.

But meanwhile…

I have been reading the following paper:

Rowsell, Jennifer; Kendrick, Maureen. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy.Apr2013, Vol. 56 Issue 7, p587-599.

It discusses the benefits of visual cues – student- generated or chosen from a third-party source – in assisting students producing richer narratives. (This accords with an other recent paper on Dyslexia, which accompanies a specially-designed font, and also notes the need for the use of visual cues.)

Of course, the subjects of the papers are young males.

Three modalities and three sites of meaning are defined.

Modalities are: technological, compositional & social. The three sites of meaning are: site of production, the bonded unit of the image, and the site of viewing. The theory of ‘site’ takes account of the social practices of the context in which the image was produced, what it ‘contains’ and where and when it is viewed: from one to three different locations. And henceforth, this has effects on the production and reception of the resulting narrative.

All of which accords with Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT), Cole, Engstrom, et al., the socio-cultural analysis tool which I have been using as part of my observations of group work, formally and informally. Kendrick and Rowsell go on to suggest:

“An ecological approach to language learning emphasizes emergent language development; “learning and cognition as explained not only in terms of processes inside the head, but also in terms of interaction with the environment; and learners’ perceptual and social activity as, in a fundamental way, their learning” (vanLier, 2000, cited in Hornberger, 2002, p. 35). An ecological approach allows us to look more closely at the performance of multimodal text construction and to consider students’ experience across time and within a variety of contexts” (Roswell & Kendrick, p.590, 2013).

So we English teachers should acknowledge the power of the visual image to support narrative production, tapping “into students’ motivations, interests and convictions” – especially boys – and ‘recruit’ what “students bring to learning” (The New London Group, 1996 in Roswell & Kendrick, 2013).