Month: September 2016

Looking for Impact? Structure Matters

Why do school structures matter when it comes to reading interventions? Sometimes the obvious answers – or ‘the way we’ve always done it’ – turn out not to be the best solutions. Take reading interventions at secondary school. Usually, interventions for students who are reading at a low level are located within the SEN department, based on the following assumptions: Students who have difficulty reading likely have a disability of some kind (one of the many variants of ‘dyslexia’, for example); Students who are reading at a low level do so because they are less intelligent, and therefore should be taught within the ‘special needs’ context; Low-reading students are less likely to make progress and therefore less likely to assist the school’s results, so it makes sense to identify them as having special needs when accounting for their progress (or lack of it). I’ve pointed out elsewhere why these common misconceptions are wrong, and how they hinder the progress of students. But when we consider that nationally, 20% of students arrive at secondary school unable to …

Read For Your Life

Reading is essential to the stability of society. This last weekend we had the wonderful experience of being at a community gathering in Brittany, where Breton music was played, Breton songs were sung and traditional Breton dancing took place. There were teenagers dancing with grandparents, children dancing in groups, and older couples dancing too. Some of the dancers were clearly very experienced and proficient, but it didn’t matter if people were learners: participation, and passing on the culture, were what mattered. Breton culture came to the Brittany peninsula in the early middle ages, and has survived for centuries, even after the country’s absorption into France in 1491. The language has links to Cornish and Welsh, and is distinctly different from French. One only has to study the place names on a map to see how different – and to see the obvious links to Cornwall. To have maintained their identity in such close proximity to the dominant French culture speaks volumes for the Breton sense of pride and heritage. Not only are there now Breton immersion schools, there …