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Staff encouraged to get down and jive

It was quite a sight - a group of embarrassed teachers jiving to Eddie Cochran's track 'Come on Everybody' at 9.30am in a secondary school classroom. The dozen or so unsuspecting heads and teachers were at Nina Jackson's rather wacky workshop at last week's Learning to Learn Together in Wales conference at Cardiff high school.

The opera-trained music teacher has been researching how music can aid pupil learning (see above), and used the workshop to demonstrate her findings to colleagues.

First, she let her inhibitions go as she led the group through a pulse-raising rock 'n' roll routine, designed to get hearts racing and the brain fired up for a long day of workshops. Later, she toned things down with some classical music that brought tears to the eyes of one participant.

And she explained how the dulcet tones of the didgeridoo can make pupils more content to be in the classroom, because the Aboriginal instrument mimics noises from the womb.

Ms Jackson's workshop was one of 14 aimed at helping teachers support, plan, and personalise learning for pupils. Others looked at using meditation to develop imaginative powers, and setting up a pastoral support team.

Mike Griffiths, head at Cardiff high, said: "This is the fifth conference held here where teachers from south Wales can share good practice."

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