"Practical English skills inspire children. When children keep working on their poems in break time after class, we know we've engaged them. They are motivated to keep using the skills they've discovered in class," says Cat
"A lot of television actors are physically intelligent. This intelligence means they are good at sports and acting. Children learn better when they have had exercise, and I wanted to see if we could marry the written and the physical together."
The physical part of the poetry workshops worked well but expanding the children's vocabulary during the physical part of the workshop was proving difficult.
"It was working in Awebridge school that provided the missing piece of our workshop. The children started by from the writing, then to move to physical storytelling. We then took this model to Vigo School with the creation of list poems. The results were exciting for the children and the teachers."
Working with the teachers to help overcome the specific challenges faced provided Dr Rogers and Cat Randle with new insights.
"We structured the workshops to the teacher's needs and the curriculum. Our teachers were able to continue the physical poetry and fit the work into their lesson plans and developing on the children's poetry and literacy."
Dr Rogers and Mrs Randle discovered concentration are added benefits.
"My generation learnt works by rote and repetition. This technique was the learning style of spelling. By having physical actions linked to the words and repeating them over, the children's concentration developed. I realised this skill is disappearing. Mobile phone and tablet technology doesn't require this development however in a class context it's a vital skill. By first writing, the poem is then linked to visual and physical stimuli and then repeating it so it can be performed the children learn a complex set of skills which will help them persist at tasks. We are future proofing them against a negative aspect of technology.
Cat Randle was also aware that slow learners and children who have English as a second language also benefited from this style of learning.
"This system helps learners who have English contact their physical and academic intelligences to learn words while not being excluded for lack of fluency. Working as a team by adapting and including the slow learners functionally also is a vital life skill."
"Eventually I'd like the festival to be a place where we showcase the whole county. Andover and Test Valley are like my home country NZ because it's a small town that punches above its weight."
The foundation schools have requested Dr Rogers, and Cat Randle return next year to continue their work.
" I have a bigger vision. It would be great if we can bring all the schools of the Test Valley, primary, secondary, private and state to showcase in a week-long festival. I would also like to grow the programme to the level where we have workshop leaders and shadows placed with schools each year. I think teachers and schools would benefit from having their community creators."
For more information about the Talk About Festival please contact
Cat Randle on 07841032093