Memory is in the Pitt of your stomach

15th April 2005 at 01:00
Picture this. Brad Pitt is ill. Violently ill. He is throwing up buckets of saliva and in the middle of the saliva is a little pig called Gus who has a large stomach and is cooking a piece of liver in a pan.

This, in case you were wondering, is a memory-boosting technique being taught to pupils to improve their exam grades.

Maximize Your Potential, a study skills programme costing up to pound;800 a session, claims it can boost by 15 per cent the numbers of pupils getting A* to C at GCSE.

Jeremy Dry, a senior trainer, said: "We get children to use the right sides of their brain, the creative side. The story about Brad Pitt is a way to remember the seven key words of the digestive tract. Mouth - imagine your favourite movie star's mouth; saliva gland - imagine them throwing up saliva; epiglottis - it is a hard word but it has the word 'pig' hidden in it; oesophagus - the last three letters spell Gus; stomach; liver; and pancreas - the pig's cooking the liver in a pan."

On Tuesday Mr Dry taught sixth-formers from Dover grammar school for girls and Archers Court school, also in Dover, the memory techniques.

Hannah Collins, 17, a pupil at Dover grammar, said: "He was referring to celebrities a lot and that helped everyone get into it."

Julia Salter, a science teacher and post-16 manager at Archers Court school, joked: "I wish I could teach my lessons like that. That man is an entertainer."

The sessions also focus on what type of learner you are: someone who looks and listens, or who enjoys getting involved.

Mr Dry is due to go into Willenhall school sports college, Walsall, on Monday to work with 80 borderline C-D GCSE students. In March he worked with the whole of Year 11.

Susan Biggins, deputy head, said: "The students predicted grades lower than a C did really well at the lateral thinking. Many feel they are on a downward slope to exams. It is about boosting their confidence. They were doing better than the teachers at questions like: 'What is in the middle of Paris? The letter R.'"

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