The end of the term has given me enough time to reflect on something we tried in our literacy lessons. Using exactly the same topic as last year I am able to compare the impact of certain aspects.

We incorporated a lot of memorising, a lot of role-play and combined them into a heavily drama orientated programme of study. The impetus for doing this was aspects of the new primary curriculum programme of study for year 5 and 6. The outline is as follows:  

Year 2 Programme of Study
"..continuing to build up a repertoire of poems learnt by heart, appreciating these and reciting some, with appropriate intonation to make the meaning clear."

Year 3 and 4 Programme of Study
"...preparing poems and play scripts to read aloud and to perform, showing understanding through intonation, tone, volume and action
recognising some different forms of poetry."

Year 5 and 6 Programme of Study
"...learning a wider range of poetry by heart."

We wanted to see whether memorising parts of a difficult text, acting them out and just generally allowing the pupils to experiment with language would improve their ability to relate to difficult concepts, themes and a generally difficult style.

We decided to dedicate 2 out of the 5 lessons every week for this purpose. One of the lessons would allow the pupils to text-mark selected passages and choose the parts they want to act out. They would learn them with their partner. Often they would learn the lines that evening. The second lesson would be input on expression, acting etc. and every group would perform their piece (unaided) to the class.

That was the plan. I'm fortunate enough to work at a school that allows freedom of this kind and I was able to do this for the whole of the Autumn Term. I could have covered this particular aspect of the new curriculum with a few lessons and a few poems learnt, of course that is true. However, memorising texts, poems and dramatising them is not something I have ever dedicated much time to in my own teaching and I thought I should give the whole thing a try. Therefore, I had to make sure I gave it enough contact time to have an impact.

I could overload you with quotes from famous people on how memorising things is bad or I could roll out the argument about the Google generation having everything at their fingertips but I never like to accept anything until I have experimented it on my own classes. However, I particularly like the following quote:

We are students of words: we are shut up in schools, and colleges, and recitation-rooms, for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bag of wind, a memory of words, and do not know a thing.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

So I shall be waiting for ten or fifteen years when I'll have scores of my ex-pupils wanting my head for wasting their time. However until that time I shall enjoy committing them to my 'recitation rooms'.

Positive Outcomes:-

- Pupils enjoyed having the freedom that the 2 lessons provide

- Pupils enjoyed the partner work

- Pupils liked having the time to understand difficult passages, not having the teacher explain them.

- Pupils liked the challenge of memorising, regardless of what it was.

- Phrases and words appearing in their writing in the correct context

- I was able to see the pupils bring the text or poem alive and assess their understanding

- It gave me the freedom to circulate the groups and work with different pairings.

- There was less pressure of outcome and more enjoyment during the lessons.

Negative Outcomes:-

- Often the pupils would memorise without understanding the passage

This was addressed by getting the pupils to perform an interpretation of the words, either a modern interpretation, introduce different characters, change the words into their own but still memorise them. I found a good trick: pupils had to include passages that had no words at all and act out the concepts and themes. This meant they had to understand the words completely. If pupils couldn't do this, they would soon make you aware of it and you could work with them on the language or other elements.

- Justifying the time to middle leaders or senior management

For the first term, before any evidence could be produced, it was difficult to justify doing this. I just made sure they regularly came to visit during the sessions and saw that the pupils were experimenting with language. It was difficult to persuade them that I didn't need to put evidence for the sessions in the books. I am glad I was able to as this would have trashed the whole concept. Once a steady flow of writing was produced it was clear that the pupils had understood particular themes or concepts in the text and they were using language effectively and in the correct context. They were able to take on writing in a certain style very well and this certainly came through. Comparing their writing to my previous class, comparing the difference in using learnt words, phrases or lines, as I believe that's the only part I can compare, it is clear there has been a positive impact.

I was happy to bring a freedom, yet focus, to the programme of study for the Autumn term. It was something different and it certainly suited the texts we were studying. I will be using its format again for texts that I feel need it. Luckily this time I have the evidence to prove its worth. Is it any better than normal role-play? I don't know the answer to that, all I know is that learning different parts of the texts and having to understand the characters, feelings and motives to be able to learn it, was powerful and it impacted their writing significantly.

Do I believe in pupils memorising? I believe in it when it is purposeful in allowing pupils the freedom and independence to explore language. I don't, however, believe in 'recitation rooms'. I have almost always found that a combination of different styles of teaching yields the best results and I would encourage schools to give teachers the freedom to experiment and trust them to do it.



30/09/2015 18:08

Shakespeare allusions are indeed classic. As a student, I have always hated memorizing text. For sure, it is very important in law school or in biology or medicine. For most part though, I would rather understand the text and be able to explain it in my own words. After all, learning is truly about comprehension and knowing that no matter what is asked, a student can defend the answer. Perhaps this is why I opted to pursue Liberal Arts.


While most students and teachers I know are against it, I personally feel there is nothing wrong with having to memorise these classic lines. They are tedious , I know. If that is the only reason why one would not want to do it then I think it doesn't count. If one is being creative and wanted to twist things a little, then I feel it is perfectly okay as long as they announce it and they know exactly what they omitted. We need to respect literature enough that we try to keep things pure one in a while.

08/02/2017 08:32

Diabazole And last but not the least, they must make sure Diabazole that they're robust enough to cope with possibility of failing Diabazole in.

27/10/2015 03:41

waw i'm agree with you. thanks for share


While most understudies and instructors I know are against it, I for one feel there is nothing amiss with memorizing these great lines. They are dreary , I know. In the event that that is the main motivation behind why one would not have any desire to do it then I think it doesn't number. On the off chance that one is being imaginative and needed to bend things a little, then I feel it is flawlessly alright the length of they declare it and they know precisely what they precluded.


thanks for share.. your articel so good

08/12/2015 16:47

Some good thing to remember some bad things to forget

23/03/2016 20:17

Buy college essays online 100% plagiarism-free papers Custom Writing Service Prices starting at $7.95/page paper.

08/04/2016 08:56

Happiness in terms of science is a state of mind where a person finds the universal environment to be soothing to him or her.


You do remember only good things as the time is passing by.

16/09/2016 07:05

I recommend you to read this post full carefully, and you will understand how to download and install SnapTube app on your PC Windows 7/8/8.1/10/XP

15/11/2016 14:45

We write essays that are: 100% custom-written and formatted according to your instructions!

28/11/2016 11:57

Top Quality Thesis Proposal Writing Help.

05/12/2016 17:23

Memorizing anything is not that easy as it seems to be when you are limited to only talking about memorizing.


03/01/2017 06:39

03/02/2017 07:04

picasa for mac

07/02/2017 22:33

amazing info thanks for sharing keep it up

10/04/2017 22:40

It happen to some of the students that they can't memorize such thing in which they don't have any interest. In the same way there so much students in the world whose writing is not as good as others students have so they start taking help from coursework writers at very cheap rates to get higher result from their so competitors.

27/04/2017 06:56

i have visited this blog a few times now and i have to tell you that i find it quite exeptional actually. keep it up! ive begun to visit Diabazole this cool site a couple of times now and i have to tell you that i find it quite nice actually.

15/05/2017 17:20

We like to read this issue.. Thanks you've made it clear!

18/05/2017 21:24

Nice post having excellent contents.This is exactly what I've been looking for.Thank you very good.

30/05/2017 06:02

Hyderabad Traffic Challan i.e E-Challan can be paid easily. if you worried that you will have to visit traffic police for getting the information regarding your pending challan

07/06/2017 08:18

Thank you for sharing in this article
I can learn a lot and could also be a reference
I hope to read the next your article updates

10/06/2017 13:37

Mobdro for iOS, iPhone is the best app available for ios users. For ios or iPhone users,Mobdro for iPhone and Mobdro for ios helps in watching tv shows, videos, movies online for free

19/06/2017 00:24

Sometimes it's not easy to find such issue on the net, bu it's great. You have one!

21/06/2017 11:48

Blackmart Alpha APK is an app or otherwise, we can say it’s an excellent web-based online marketing platform where an individual is allowed to get all the available Android apps completely for free of cost

11/07/2017 14:16

Download IBPS RRB Officer Scale Prelims Admit Card 2017 here. IBPS had announced the admit card for the CWE VI examination


it's really nice and meanful. it's really cool blog. Linking is very useful have really helped lots of people who visit blog and provide them usefull information


The information you have provided is very helpful at all thank you very much for sharing useful information with us.

24/07/2017 07:46

I'm getting excited about this kind of beneficial information of your stuff in the future

26/07/2017 11:27

I am no academic, so I am not any authority on academic help. But, for the similar reason, I haven't got to stick to the same limitations you may have to, which enables me to create simply and freely, without stress. It appears like academics feel that they need to cover their asses in some ways. First, you obviously need to correctly reference everything of relevance that others already has been doing. That also means you will never say anything before you decide to completely have researched what came before.


Wha! This is great full blog i like this type blog. Deferentially this blog have this quality big cost, special effects, thank for sharing this blog.

05/08/2017 10:43

The word failure, not uncommon to us humans has been scaring the s*** out of us since the inception of human civilization. More so for freelancers seeking to step into the pond of freelancing for the first time. The transition from full-time work to gig economy has given birth to increased interest in freelance work.

25/08/2017 08:59

Have the capacity to take supply of their execution and long haul key issues. It is however basic that they survey their advance and see how to get the best out of their business and execute the means important to make them gainful and prosperous.

05/09/2017 12:23

For those of you who like to visit enjoy the beautiful island, welcome to Tidung Island.


hank you so much for this amazing posts and please keep update like this excellent article.

09/09/2017 01:59

Very attractive, interesting article. Congratulations and success, informative I love it.

13/09/2017 09:30

Many readers respond positively. They get clear information.

17/09/2017 10:45

Beauti Queen amazing kolkata escorts agency alwyas ready for you at your doorstep. Beauti Queen provide you high profile independent girl in kolkata, escorts service in kolkata, kolkata escorts. If you are looking for the ultimate encounter in Kolkata then I am your sophisticated young Kolkata escorts that provides upscale companionship for making your night becomes true.


Leave a Reply