Teaching synthesis and kittiwakes (yet again)

My colleague Joy McGregor has written a very interesting article in the May-June issue of School Library Monthly, so if you have access to that journal or to a database which will give you access, you should read it. In the article, Joy McGregor discusses a visual approach to teaching synthesis, while admitting that ‘Synthesis is not easy to do, nor is it easy to teach’. The visual approach suggested in the article is a practical one for TLs and teachers, who often face the issue of students not synthesising what they read and expressing it mainly in their own words. In her research, mainly on plagiarism, the author examined year 11 student assignments in an Australian school, and colour coded these assignments, identifying where students had used their own words, or had merely rearranged the words they had read, or (at worst) had simply copied sections of text. Examples can be viewed by TLs in a slide presentation and shown to students, to stimulate discussion of synthesis and plagiarism with senior students. As Joy McGregor points out, discussing these examples with students will not revolutionise their practices overnight, but it is a place to start. Try it.

It’s that time of year again, here in Dunbar as I get my camera out, affix the zoom lens and head off to the harbour to try and capture the perfect photo of kittiwakes with their young chicks. The photos below are probably the sharpest ones I’ve taken but the search for the definitive mother and chicks (at least I think it’s the mother) will go on. Another feature of the photos is the outstanding stonework on which the kittiwakes nest – I think that the sandstone itself is worth photographing. The stones are part of the original wall of Dunbar Castle only part of which remains although it is still an impressive site.

Kittiwakes at Dunbar harbour

Kittiwake chick at Dunbar harbour


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: