Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Research Corner

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

Research Corner

Article excerpt

Each week, we highlight education research conducted by teachers. This week, Mike Mainwaring and Victoria Wood, from St John Bosco Catholic Primary School in Merseyside, explain how they used a multisensory approach to writing to initiate reluctant pupils into the world of words.


Multisensory writing is a technique that encourages pupils to draw on the sights, sounds and smells of their environment to improve their learning experience. Activities including group work, visual stimuli and role-playing are used to help pupils broaden their linguistic capabilities.

Victoria Wood, who teaches Year 2 (aged 6-7) and Mike Mainwaring, who teaches Year 6 (aged 10-11), explored the impact of a multisensory approach on their classes between January and May this year. Their aim was to discover if multisensory writing could increase the attainment of a sample group of eight boys across key stages 1 and 2.


Research suggests that boys tend to be more reluctant readers and writers than girls. Indeed, during a preliminary series of lesson observations, Mainwaring and Wood (pictured, below) noticed that male pupils were more likely to disengage from the writing process and struggle creatively. Some 38 per cent of key stage 2 boys achieved a level 4 and only 12 per cent achieved a level 5. For girls, these figures were reversed.


The pupils were asked to produce a piece of independent writing without external stimuli and fill out a self-assessment questionnaire.

Mainwaring and Wood then employed a two-phase teaching process. In the first phase, pupils completed a series of activities around the school. …

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