I’ve been rustling (digitally) through some photographs from the summer holidays, in many ways searching for some inspiration for some painting, but, to me, by far the most common focus is that every photograph brings back a flood of memories; not just the immediacy of the photograph, but the surrounding, or linked experiences and sensations.
I am very conscious that my 1950/60s childhood is much less well documented, in large part because photography was relatively more expensive and much less secure; there was always a chance that the photo wouldn’t come out and required the trek to the chemist to develop the film, with a wait time of at lest a few days. Those black and white photos that exist, however, do draw back memories, distorted through the remainder of my life.
Dual coding seems to be a current buzz word. I have a feeling that it is one of those things that has always been a part of human existence, but, having been identified, has become a thing in itself.
Life is a series of experiences, both formal learning and informal experience.
· Being part of an experience and engaging in dialogue about the experience is likely to fit with the dual coding remit.
· To develop some kind of record of the experience, to photograph it, to draw or paint or simply to write down some significant words as aides memoire. An ancient shepherd who kept a knot in a string, or a notch in a piece of wood for every sheep could use one-to-one correspondence to check the flock, even if they couldn’t count.
· Reference back to these contemporaneous documents, as prompts, coupled with dialogic exploration enables an engaged adult lead to offer further areas for reflection, research or evaluation; creating appropriate links to the original experience.
· Speaking about the learned experience, using relevant aides memoire, opens the speaker to and audience, which, if allowed to comment or critique, allows the speaker to consider areas that might not have been part of the earlier experience.
· The read and spoken experiences can be interpreted into appropriate materials that exemplify the experience. an example might be the mathematical material created by Zoltan Dienes, exploring place value and mathematical functions in considerable depth.
· The combination of the manipulation, the dialogue, the drawing, diagramming, and the interpretation into a number system, all contribute to a multiplicity of links within understanding.
· In many ways, the notion of “show your working” is very important as it extends the “dialogue” between the learner and the teacher, allowing insights into procedural thinking. This can extend to “talk your thinking”; a child articulating their rationale when undertaking a task.
It is the child version of “know how with show how”, which, to me, is the essence of my understanding of dual coding when working with learners; getting them to externalise what they are thinking, which is the underpinning of assessment/teacher judgements.