Ready to jump in

By Kate Waring, English Teacher, St Peter’s Church of England Aided School, Exeter 

I teach boys who are afraid to chase down a story. For them, a first line is a bigger obstacle than any kevlar-armoured, gun-wielding assassin on the gaming screen.

I haven’t made it easy for them. I breathe down their neck, ready to prise that first sentence from the paper and ‘improve’ it. I’ve thrown so many verbs, connectives and sharp-pointed adjectives at the class, that they dodge words instinctively. For these boys (and a number of girls), words are hard. All of them. Continue reading “Ready to jump in”

An August Writer

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

In the rhythm of the academic year at university, August is normally a month where the pace slows down a little and where there is a little more space for choosing what you want to do.  I spent part of August on holiday in the Arctic, walking the fells and boreal forests of Finland, enjoying the fjords of Northern Norway, and finally the barren beauty of Svalbard. One of the joys of holidays is freedom to explore, when you want to, where you want to, with few restraints. Continue reading “An August Writer”

To plan or not to plan?

By Lucy Oliver, Research Fellow, University of Exeter

‘Should we plan it out before we write anything?’ Just one of the questions students have asked writers during the co-teaching phase of the Teachers as Writers project. But a telling one perhaps, in that it signals some of the ritualised practices we’ve come to associate with school writing. The old edict ‘plan-draft-revise-proofread’ is hard to shake off. For most of us, of course, the assumption that writing proceeds in an orderly sequence of steps is not one we recognise in practice. As the writer in this classroom explained, it’s usually much less predictable: Continue reading “To plan or not to plan?”

What do you know about your writers?

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

At the start of this new school year there will be new faces, new challenges and new opportunities. Critically, new relationships will need to be made between children and teachers. I wonder what each already know, or think they know, about each other?

I wonder too what messages about writing and being a writer are emerging as new classroom spaces are inhabited? What might the physical environment and ethos suggest about what it means to be a writer inside those four walls and/or beyond?  Continue reading “What do you know about your writers?”