Let’s Think in English is a teaching programme developed since 2009 to help pupils develop the reasoning skills needed for success in English. This is vitally important for the new primary National Curriculum with its emphasis on mastery and for preparing for the new higher-demand GCSE English examinations.
The programme consists of high-interest lessons all using English texts – fiction, poetry, non-fiction and film. The primary lessons are designed for Years 1/2, 3/4 and 5/6 and the secondary ones for KS3 and GCSE with some specifically designed with 19th century and non-fiction texts.
The lessons are designed to be used fortnightly over two years and involve reading, open-ended questioning and structured group discussion. They systematically develop pupils’ skills of inference, deduction and analysis, increasing their confidence, resilience, understanding and ability to express their ideas. In particular, they provide oral experience in drafting which will be essential in challenging timed GCSE examinations where pupils will need to draft effective evaluation and comparison answers at sight.
Let’s Think in English (LTE) has three distinctive features:
The programme raises attainment by all pupils, but particularly helps less able pupils to thrive and make specially good progress – see Evidence of success. This is important both for equity and for Progress 8 in secondary schools now that raising attainment from grade 2 to 3 counts as much as raising it from 6 to 7.
LTE encourages the growth mindset that Carol Dweck has shown is so important for increasing pupils’ attainment as well as their self-confidence. Because all pupils’ ideas are discussed on an equal basis without praise or criticism, this encourages pupils to take risks.
There is growing awareness that effective CPD isn’t provided by a one-off input which leaves teachers to devise their own approaches and materials. It’s provided by ongoing support using model lessons until the new approach becomes embedded in teachers’ professional skills. The DfE’s Standard for teachers’ professional development recommends this approach – see Standard for teachers’ professional development [PDF document] – and LTE provides it.
Over 350 schools are now using the programme, mainly in London and the South East but also in Hampshire, Dorset, Cornwall, Norfolk, Suffolk, Lincolnshire, North Yorkshire, Stockport, Liverpool, Cumbria and Jersey with others in Switzerland, Hong Kong and Vietnam. More are joining each term.