I’m not a particularly huge fan of Ofsted. However I have just discovered some of my work has made it’s way into their Learning: Creative Approaches that Raise Standards report that was been recently published here. Although I am mentioned anonymously in the report there is a very small case study of a lesson Ofsted observed me teach during a creative learning survey inspection just over a year ago. It was based around multimodal analysis and production of writing with the stimulus of the Japanese anime My Neighbour Totoro.

They report that:

Examples of good practice encouraged pupils to make connections across traditional subject boundaries and to respond imaginatively to technology as a resource. This extended and reinforced pupils’ development as creative learners. The following example comes from one of the primary schools visited. Here an understanding of the choices made and techniques used in film-making enabled pupils to be analytical, collaborative and imaginative.

A snapshot of the lesson is then cited:

From criticism to creation

A Year 2 teacher combined reading and writing with other approaches to interpretation, evaluation and presentation. He encouraged pupils to make connections, ask questions and reflect critically on ideas and actions. He had chosen a Japanese film, My Neighbour Totoro, as the stimulus for learning, splitting the film into sections to study different aspects of the story. This session came as the culmination of work with pupils through which they had learnt to analyse film from the different standpoints of setting, sound, action and language. Discussion at the start of the session demonstrated that the pupils had a good understanding of these categories.

Each pupil was given a small whiteboard with the different categories as headings. During the first showing of the film clip, the teacher helped pupils identify key moments for focusing on the areas for analysis. During the second showing, pupils used the whiteboards to record their own responses across any categories they chose. They discussed their observations and evaluations, showing considerable knowledge and an ability to challenge each other constructively. They not only questioned and challenged each other’s responses to the clip ‘as film’; they showed curiosity and imagination in exploring the culture and assumptions that had shaped the film.

Finally, each pupil wrote an ending for the story they had been watching. The writing was highly imaginative, with a strong sense of place and, in many cases, a sophisticated vocabulary and range of expression.

Famous at last… in an anonymous fashion!

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