Working with Mike Hughes – Discovering the ‘Magenta Principles’

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Mike visited us at Wymondham High Academy in September 2013 for a whole staff training day. One of the approaches he introduced was the ‘Magenta Principles’. Creating a piece of drama, based around the image of onion layers, to represent the effect of erosion on rocks is the abiding memory I have: a sun-drunk wanderer in the desert; the sun dancing on stage; staff representing flakes of rock shimmying on stage…cpd with mike hughes at wymondham high
The ‘Magenta Principles’ are brilliant. Just as it often is with great ideas, you realise you have been using them in your best lessons without thinking about it. Once you have the notion formalised you begin to be able to draw on it in a measured and deliberate fashion.

The main idea behind these principles is that students should be manipulating information rather than simply receiving it passively. Essentially you have a never ending choice of options but I think my two favourites are ‘Connect it!’ and ‘Reduce it!’
In the last year I’ve asked students to make a connection between items such as a picture of the polluted River Yangtze and an extract from ‘Hard Times’. We have reduced information into different forms: a micro poem distilled from contextual information of 1930s America, collected from songs, images, statistics and factual accounts. And what’s more, the students are engaged and thinking.
This year, I’m determined to break away from my tried and tested Magenta favourites to try a broader range of the ‘Magenta Principles’. Why are they called the Magenta Principles? Well, that’s a question to ask Mike Hughes himself…

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