Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Pole-bridging - my New Word For The Day!

What? This is a word I learned this morning, but probably will not use very much. Janice and Debs, two teachers who I Respect Very Much were using it. Apparently it means "to articulate what one is doing, so that learning is embedded". So when a child describes his actions in solving a maths problem, he is pole-bridging. If I say out loud "knit one, purl one" it presumably helps me to produce better ribbing, and may even help another person to develop the skill.

Who makes up these crazy words? I found this on a school's policy document on the web...

In Practice · We provide feedback at the point of learning

  • We encourage children to articulate what they are learning (Pole-bridging)
  • We teach children ‘Mind-mapping’ to support presentations
  • We teach children cooperative learning strategies e.g. Pair-share, Rally Robin, Each one – teach one, etc and use them regularly in lessons
  • Children produce learning posters for other children.
  • Children use PowerPoint
  • Children devise tests for one another.

Children perform their understanding.

I think I might be approaching my sell-by date as a teacher. I have been thirty years in the classroom, and never to my knowledge used "Rally Robin" as a teaching tool [what is it?]

Furthermore I have watched a number of children use PowerPoint presentations and they are usually appalling because they seem to get extra marks the more bells and whistles they include, however intrusive or inappropriate. Then I realise that their teachers [and the lecturers who trained them] can't use PowerPoint properly either.

How on earth can we expect parents to co-operate with us in the teaching process if we bamboozle them with gobbledegook eduspeak? I think if Liz or Steph had come home from school with such a policy I would have been banging on the Head's door next day asking for an explanation!

It is with great relief that I have to say that Janice and Debs were only using the term ironically, and I get the impression that they will continue to carry on teaching brilliantly without resorting to such daft language!

Despite extensive googling - when I should have been getting the tea, the nearest I could get to any coherent definition was on this site and said this...

What we at Project Renaissance call "pole-bridging the brain" is the principle of taking functions which are found in widely separate, usually not very related regions of the brain (the "poles," if you will) and expressing those brain functions externally in some combination way which requires their coordination. The much faster external sensory feedback from those expressed-coordinated functions forces a more and more immediate relationship between the respective regions of the brain so involved.

Hope that makes sense to you!dykeleaping

Bob thinks there must be some sort of connection with dyke-jumping or fierljeppen as practised in Norfolk! Watch it on YouTube


  1. I just have to make a small comment on the fierljeppen note. The video is recorded in IJlst (Netherlands) not Norfolk. It shows the soccerteam of Heerenveen who does this for the first time.

    For some real fierljeppen watch this:

  2. Thank you! I should have said the clip was in Holland- I couldn't find any pictures of genuine Norfolk jumpers.
    Thank you for the other link too. Drop by my blog again sometime !

  3. I agree with your comment on using PowerPoint totally. I spent 6 weeks with my year 7's teaching them how to design and make a really good PowerPoint, particually how to use animation/sounds/colours etc. effectivly. The project was for an English oral entitled "Famous people of faith" and the comment made by the English teacher was that their use of PowerPoint was much better than that of many adults. I must say I am not particually good at using PowerPoint myself but the kids did some great work.


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