Double (Quick) English; Exclusive Mirrorman Attempts Revolutionary 8-Minute Lesson
Byline: By JEREMY ARMSTRONG
WELL, it seems you CAN teach an old dog new tricks - and in eight minutes flat!
The Mirror sent me back to school to try out the new "shortsharp" lesson technique that may revolutionise our classrooms.
The method - eight-minute lessons split by 10-minute rest gaps - was inspired by research that showed the memory absorbs teaching better in short bursts followed by stints at other activities.
The last time I was in a class studying poetry, a small bespectacled chap stood at a blackboard reciting Robert Browning and the Metaphysical Poets.
But 25 years later at pioneering Monkseaton Community High School in North Tyneside, I sat among 15 and 16-year-olds comparing two very different writers.
Lawrence Ferlinghetti's Two Scavengers in a Truck, Two Beautiful People in a Mercedes is about America's... well, "beautiful people", while Edward Braithwaite's Limbo deals with slavery.
The blackboard has now given way to a Powerpoint presentation while Homer Simpson, ball games and dancing also play a part in getting the lesson across.
Headmaster Dr Paul Kelley explained this was part of the experiment. A round of Simon Says, for instance, gave the mind a rest to make sure youngsters took in points that had been made.
Gearing everything to the pupils' GCSE exams, Dr Kelley and lead English teacher Paula Claydon went through the key points to understanding the two poets.
Key points were lit up in bold colours: "Argue, persuade, advise...Paragraphs to develop logical order...Think audience.
What is the speaker's point of view?...Know where you are going when you make an argument."
Vivid religious paintings appear with Limbo. …