Can’t think of nothin’

By Lucy Oliver, Research Fellow, University of Exeter

Students often say the hardest part of writing is getting started. As one girl (in year 9) put it to me recently: ‘When you don’t know what you want to say is when you have a problem – on a bad day I’ll just sit there for ages, a blank-out kind of, and I know that the time’s running out and I can’t think a thing and I’m like Aargh!’ Like stage fright, being stuck for words can be terrifying when the spotlight is on you to produce. For students, the problem is frequently compounded by their perception that ‘a good day’ depends on forces outside their control: with luck or ‘inspiration’, that elusive idea will somehow pop into their head and they’re off: ‘For me it would be luck and what I can think of on the day. If I can get that first sentence, the rest just comes and I’m alright’. Continue reading “Can’t think of nothin’”

Writing for pleasure?

By Teresa Cremin, Professor of Literacy in Education, The Open University

In England we are used to the term ‘reading for pleasure’ and indeed most schools seek to foster this, but is ‘writing for pleasure’ also part of our vocabulary? I’m not convinced. Do we plan to nurture young people’s enjoyment in writing?  Do we allow them space and time to write for their own purposes? Are they writing for themselves, or for others – their teachers, parents and the assessment system? Do we ourselves see writing as a pleasurable form of self-expression; a way of making sense, Continue reading “Writing for pleasure?”

Ideas in (E)Motion

By Professor Debra Myhill, Director of the Centre for Research in Writing, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Executive Dean, The University of Exeter

One element of the ‘Teachers as Writers’ project is interviewing professional writers about their own experiences and practices in writing, principally to help us think about the synergies and dissonances between these writers’ experiences and those of teachers and young people in school. One of the joys of these conversations is hearing the diversity that is evident in ways of being a writer: there is no ‘right way’, no toolkit or checklist for success, but more the growing of an identity as a writer and greater self-reflection on both your writing and how you write – a ‘becoming’ as a writer. Continue reading “Ideas in (E)Motion”