The term "knowledge organiser" has been used a lot over the last few years. They are a tool of which I am a passionate advocate. However, opinions of them appear to be divided; While I have met many teachers who share my passion, others have been nonplussed or told me to 'just use a revision guide'.
To me, knowledge organisers are the ultimate tool of inclusion. They will never replace the benefit of being taught by an expert. However, they create a situation in which every child, regardless of special need, attendance or socio-economic status, can have access to the core knowledge they need to succeed.
However, this only happens if knowledge organisers are written well; I believe, in order to realise their benefits, knowledge organisers must be focused, sequential and accessible.
Many pupils will arrive at secondary school lacking in cultural capital, with a limited vocabulary or with little experience of subjects such as history or geography. Therefore, if the aim of knowledge organisers is to make core knowledge available to all pupils, it is vital that their content is accessible.
This is not to say that the content cannot be challenging. All pupils are capable of learning and using specialist terms and understanding complex concepts. However, unless the absolute core concepts are explained in the most accessible possible terms, we risk tripping and demotivating pupils at the first hurdle.
My school’s humanities department uses three main techniques to achieve this:
1. Key word banks are incorporated into the side of every knowledge organiser. These definitions are written by teachers to ensure that they are suitable for different year groups.
2. Pupils are introduced to the knowledge organisers via a specific ‘homework lesson’ at the beginning of the year. This allows teachers to model how to read the text and check the meaning of different words with pupils.
3. The knowledge organisers are broken down into small boxes for each sub-topic. These are designed to be read individually.Continued Here