In December I contributed at a TeachMeet organised by Rob Bown (@CheneyLearning1) at Cheney School, Oxford. My presentation was about using visual cues to help A Level students link researchers with particular research studies and theories.
However, what seemed to catch most people’s imagination was one particular type of resource I mentioned – file and folders I n the student shared network area specifically titled ‘do not read this’. I haven’t found a better way of getting students to read files!
The presentation was about how I’d addressed the increased number of named researchers on the new AQA A Level Psychology specification. Some students find it difficult to link researchers with particular studies or theories, so I wanted to introduce more support.
I introduced more photos of researchers into my teaching. One way was by linking them to descriptions of their work and research findings.
I also did this when we looked at how researchers were influenced by the work of others.
Apart from these visual cues within lessons, I also gave some biographical detail and encouraged students to research the life and work of psychologists as homework. In addition to all this, I ‘hid’ some further information in plain sight on the student area of the network. Each folder is headed with something like ‘Do not open’ or ‘Don’t read this!
These files go beyond the specification content to consider issues connected with the research covered in lessons and the background of researchers. For example, for the social psychology unit on social influence, I wrote a piece considering the fact that so many researchers in the field of minority influence themselves grew up as members of deprived, and sometimes persecuted, minority groups. These seem to have met with a good response; I quipped at the TeachMeet that I haven’t found a better way of getting students to read around the subject. Of course, I have to use this approach sparingly or the network would just become cluttered with files telling people not to read them!
Does it work? Well comparing the responses of students to 12 mark questions this year and last year, there has been an increase in accurate references linking researchers to studies/theories of around 40%, so it does seem to help. I do think it’s a strategy that can be applied to any subject with similar requirements; I hope you find it useful.
Your comments are always useful and I’d love to here about strategies you use to address this issue.