I’ve talked about the usefulness of and science behind dual coding here, which includes an example of the process on the novella A Christmas Carol. Now I’ve created a resource for the Eduqas Poetry Anthology.

The images – a rationale

The file containing all the images can be downloaded here. The images are a mixture of quite explicit connections to the quote, whereas others are more metaphoric of the quote. The rationale here is to take advanatage of the understanding of elaboration in encoding. The dual channels of information processing, the auditory concurrent with the visual, may be assisted by symbolic representation within the visual pathway. When the image is recalled, multiple triggers are initiated, providing students with a deeper level of encoding. This also improves the retrieval of the information significantly, as explained here. I am really only learning about this and am open to these ideas being challenged, but for now it seems logical.

Where an image is abstract, an explantion is offered. Of course, your interpretation may be different, and you may want to include a different quote. There are only 5 images per poem, and this is designed with cognitive load in mind. Of course, this would, or maybe even should, serve simply as a baseline depending on your context. My choices are based on several elements: the contexts of the poems and what possibly drove the poet to write their poem, here, and here, the pragmatic approach to revising them, here, and my own writings that helped me flesh out a firm understanding of the key aspects of each poem, here (rationale found here).

My fabulous colleague Rebecca Walker assisted in designing the slides.


You may have other ways of designing your own. You may want to add an image to reinforce structure, or context.

You may use them as retrieval practice. Activities to vary retrieval could include:

  1. having 2 poems (10 images) on a single slide jumbled, and asking students to reorder
  2. presenting an image on a slide and asking for information related to it
  3. presenting 2 images on one slide from different poems and asking for links
  4. removing the quotes and asking students to fill them in
  5. Creating flashcards of the dual coding – may be best done with predesigned templates (here)
  6. getting students to find their own images – the idea here is that the longer they spend trying to find the images the stronger the memory of the content is likely to be.

There are many other possibilities, and I would love you to add your own thoughts in the comments if you have strategies that you’ve found worked. 

Here are the images.

Image 2: brainwashed. Image 5 : throwing marriage rings away
IMage 1: making the most of a bad situation. IMage 3: identity.
Image 1: balance of good thing passing and a bad thing passing
Image 1: connection. IMage 4: shallowness of relationships. Image 5: superficial expectations of love aren’t fair
Image 1: the rubric(expectations) doesn’t work. IMage 3: possessive, holding on very tightly. IMage 4: love is reduced to a small thing (the wedding ring)
IMage 1: lack of clarity in teh society. Image 4: even less certainty in direction. IMage 5: missed opportunity
IMage 4: world changes
IMage 3: arrogance. Image 5: refusal to listen to another perspective
Image 4: focus on the beauty of now rather than the future
Image 2: robotic lives. Image 4: generational – issue will recur. IMage 5: identities are gone
Image 4: careless disposal of body (flung). IMage 5: propaganda
Image 4: futility
Iamge 1: tragedy. Image 5: stories finally heard
Image 5: growing older and becoing aware

I’m Paul Moss. Follow me on Twitter @edmerger, and follow this blog for more English teaching resources.