Churchill at 60: February 1957

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As you will know, Churchill is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee this year. The school first opened its doors to teachers and pupils sixty years ago, and I shared with you earlier this term the first entry from the school log book when the very first children and staff arrived.

February 1957 was an even more momentous month, as the existing secondary school in Churchill – Churchill Church of England Voluntary Controlled Secondary School – transferred all its resources and students over to the new Churchill School on our current site. The event is recorded in the school’s log book by the Headmaster, Mr Dennis, as follows:

13.2.57

Following the decision of the Governors and with the help of Mr Haydon, Headmaster of the Churchill V.C. Secondary School, all the books, equipment and furniture of that school were moved into this school. During the afternoon, the children of the V.C. school came down with their teachers, bringing their books and personal belongings. An assembly was held, and the Headmaster welcomed staff and pupils to the new school.

The school closed at 4 o’clock for the four-day grant of holiday occasioned by the Somerset Teachers Course and half-term.

After half term, the school was fully open – although not without its difficulties:

Wednesday, February 20th

The school re-opened this morning with its full complement of children and staff. Children were dispersed as follows:

  • 1c – Mrs Cornish
  • 1b – Miss Young
  • 1a – Miss Ford
  • IIc – Mr Lloyd
  • IIb – Mrs Miell
  • IIa – Mr Harris
  • IIIc – Mr Griffiths
  • IIIb – Mr Hector
  • IIIa – Mr Livingstone
  • IVb – Miss Owen
  • IVa – Mr Simmons

Twelve children from the Holmfield Close area of Winscombe were absent to-day. This was due to their being detained at home by their parents as a protest against there being no school bus provided from that area.

It sounds like there were a few teething troubles for the Head to cope with!

I will continue to update this blog with extracts from the school Log Book throughout this Diamond Jubilee year – they will be collected in the Churchill at 60 category. In the meantime please be sure to have a look at our Churchill at 60 webpage and, if you have memories to share or want to reminisce, join our Churchill at 60 Facebook group.

 

How to revise #4: Dual Coding

This is the fourth post in a series looking at the most effective ways to revise, based on the work of The Learning Scientists. The Learning Scientists are cognitive psychologists who want to make scientific research on learning more accessible to students and teachers. Their aim is to motivate students to study and increase the use of effective study and teaching strategies that are backed by research. I’ve met Yana Weinstein PhD at an education conference in Southampton last week – she’s the real deal!

Read all the revision posts here.

Dual Coding: what is it?

Dual coding is when you use a combination of pictures/visuals and words to help you learn material.

Dual Coding: why?

By transferring the material from a visual form into words, or from words into visuals, you are strengthening the connections in your brain around the material itself. You are also giving yourself multiple formats to remember things in – the words might act as a memory hook for the visuals, or you might remember the visuals and that will trigger the memory of the words.

Dual coding: how do I do it?

If you have a textbook, look for the visuals and see what the connection is between those and the words. What does the visual tell you that the words don’t? What do the words clarify that isn’t clear in the visual? Asking these questions helps secure your knowledge of all aspects of the topic.

When you are revising, draw visuals to go along with each section of your written notes. This could be a timeline, a diagram, a flow-chart, a mind-map, an illustration, an infographic or whatever you want!

If you have diagrams, illustrations or other visuals to work from, write down in your own words what the visual is telling you. Processing the information from one code (visual) to another (words) helps you to recall it later.

Dual coding: next steps

When you are first starting out, you will have your notes, textbook or resources in front of you. As you get better, try to dual code without the material in front of you – drawing a visual representation of the material from memory, or writing a description or explanation of the visual in your own words without looking at it. This combines dual coding with retrieval practice to help secure your revision.

Dual coding: watch the video

A letter to your younger self

Here at Churchill, we spend a lot of time with students asking them to think about their attitude and approach to learning. The aim of this reflection and work is for the students to refine their behaviours so they are the most effective learners possible. As part of this process, one teacher asked their Year 11 Economics class to reflect on what they’d learnt over the past year, especially from the mock exams they had completed before Christmas. The teacher asked the group to write a letter to a year 10 student, or to themselves a year ago, giving them the benefit of their additional year’s wisdom.

This is one student’s response:

“To a year 10 student

Here are a few tips I would suggest to a younger me I guess:

Firstly, recap what you learn during lessons at the end of the week or sub-topic.  In particular in unit 2 keep reminding yourself of fiscal, monetary and supply-side policies because that’s what I struggled with the most.

Secondly, don’t stop trying to improve your skills in answering questions.  In years 9 and 10 I was working at a solid F grade and I no longer tried because I thought it was hopeless, but at the start of year 11 and over the summer I did a lot of revision and just got my mock back with a B (1 off an A) which shows if you work hard you are able to improve.

Lastly, don’t stress about the information during lessons if you don’t get it, because you can put in extra time another time.”

This message – “if you work hard you are able to improve” – is the cornerstone of the growth mindset approach we are working hard to cultivate at Churchill. It’s fantastic to hear this is paying off for this particular student. I hope that others take heart from their advice and take the same approach!

What advice – if you could! – would you give to your younger self?