'Infernal Inference'

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'Infernal Inference'

Postby Debbie_Hepplewhite » Tue May 02, 2017 11:38 am

I think this is a really good post - currently being circulated via Twitter:

https://primarytimery.com/2017/05/01/in ... inference/


May 1, 2017oldprimarytimerDaniel Willigham, elementary education, inference, primary education, reading comprehension
I’ve always found it much harder to teach how to infer meaning than how to decode. With decoding there’s a clear routemap. With some children, it takes a bit longer to travel that route, but if you stick to the path, in the end you will get there.[1] But with inference…some children just get it and some really, really don’t. And when they don’t, it’s really hard to move them on. You show them some text, you point out what you can infer from what you’ve read, they nod (on a good day) but when you ask them to have a go, they are just as clueless. It doesn’t seem to stick. Why is this?

Daniel Willingham, the cognitive scientist explains why. It seems that inference as a skill doesn’t really exist. No wonder it’s so hard to teach! It’s a bit of a shame then that in the KS reading SATS paper between 16%-50% of the marks are allowed to come from ‘explaining and justifying inferences with evidence from the text.’ In 2016, 36% of the total marks came from questions that involved inference (18 marks out of 50). I’m not alone in finding inference an area where children struggle. Nationally, if we just consider the marks available for inference, the average score was just under 9 marks, or 49%. So this year, alongside vocabulary, across the nation, improving the ability to infer has become the thing we are all working on.

It's well worth the time to read it in full.

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