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Action Research – Africa


Phil Wickins

Highfield CE Primary School

Getting Ready
1. Stimulus

What could go better? What do you want to improve? What interests you?

(eg ‘My students give up too easily’)
Children are not applying what they have learnt and forget after a period of time. How can I increase retention?

Specifically in literacy.

2. Hypothesis

What are your thoughts about the issue you are focusing on?

(eg ‘Maybe I am doing too much for my students’)
I believe that through regular musical repetition, children will be able to remember and apply independently specific skills, such as using adverbs.
3. Research

What does the research say? What do others in my school know about this?

(Books, articles, Google Scholar, libraries)
“A song will outlive all sermons in the memory.” Henry Giles

Singing can be used as a mnemonic aid for children. A
mnemonic is a memory device that helps learners recall larger pieces of information especially in the form of lists like characteristics, steps, stages, parts, phases, etc. The word mnemonics is derived from the Greek word ‘mnemonikos’ which means ‘of memory’. The interest in mnemonics is largely attributed to a study by Gerald R. Miller, who found that students who regularly used mnemonic devices increased their test scores up to 77%.

My Focus
4. Research question

(eg ‘If I make it easier for students to help themselves and each other will their resilience improve?’
Does singing about a specific skill improve the independent application of that skill (in terms of remembering to use it, and knowing how to use it).

5. Priorities

How does my question sit within my school’s current priorities? Have I checked with key team members/senior staff?
Our current priorities in literacy include choosing words for effect to interest and influence the reader. This falls into that category, as it is a descriptive aid within their narrative.

My Enquiry
6. The Intervention

What you will do? When? Who? How?

For example
I will sing a song that I have written with the pupils (so they have ownership of the song) about adverbs; what they are and how to use them (and why to use them!) with my class, following the timescale on the memory retention graph
(See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forgetting_curve ).

7. Evaluation Methods

How will you notice, measure and describe what happens?

When the three lower key stage classes write, I will look at Africa’s Y3’s writing compared to Austalaisa and Europe base (Y4’s know the song from last year, so I will discount them in my comparison) for adverbs – amount of & appropriate use of.

Timescale Sing song regularly,

Assess writing,

Pick children from other classes to assess against.

If this is successful, extend to other classes, using recorded version of our song and ‘sing up’ resources (if teachers are not confident to sing it themselves).