Back to school

Well, university, actually. I had lots of ideas about how to teach spelling using visual mnemonics, but no hard evidence (beyond my own experience teaching adults) that they were actually effective. I particularly wanted to find out whether this approach worked for primary school children, as they seem to...

The first mnemonic: broccoli

A few years later, I was teaching adult literacy in the evenings at a local community centre. My group was hugely diverse: women from Morocco who had received only a basic primary education in Arabic, with a tiny bit of French, ambitious young men from Colombia keen to progress...

Deprived or depraved?

It all began when I was proof-reading a colleague’s work. I was working for a digital marketing agency, and we were working on a hard-hitting campaign to raise awareness of neglected children. A heart-wrenching paragraph described the plight of some depraved children – hang on – depraved as in...