Thinking outside the box

By Matt Bryden, poet and Writer Co-Mentor on the Teachers as Writers programme

When my mother dropped me at Beckenham library each Monday before her weekly shop, I used to pore over the large colour pages of A Tolkien Bestiary. As she delayed over the fish fingers in Safeway, or calculated the potential of her weekly housekeeping, I would open the pages of some of the other books in the Outsize bin, which were principally books on photography and art. If she was to buy chipolatas from the butcher, I might open a newspaper. If the Daily Mail was being read I might open Today, and if that was being read, the Guardian. Continue reading “Thinking outside the box”

Revising writing

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

It’s not easy to teach writing. As teachers we not only seek to motivate and inspire young writers, but also to enable them to revise their work effectively. The process of revision is tough – for writers and teachers – and the evidence suggests that novice writers find it hard to do well. Many young people lack confidence in evaluating their writing and many teachers express uncertainty about how best to help. Continue reading “Revising writing”

We all have a story to tell

By Becky Swain, Head of Learning and Participation, Arvon 

It’s a phrase I hear often. We have certainly used that line at Arvon to advocate for the central mission of our work and how creative writing allows us to harness our imagination and find our voice.

As the teachers involved in our Teachers as Writers research project go back to school this term, I am reminded of how I felt as an English teacher in a busy secondary school at the start of a new term and a new year. I remember the size of the challenge of how best to support pupils to overcome the barriers to enable them to share their stories and writing with confidence. Continue reading “We all have a story to tell”

All I really want to do…

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Credit: Rex Features. Licensed under Creative Commons

By Ian Eyres, Senior Lecturer, The Open University

Among my literary acquisitions over the festive period was, from my brother, a copy of the Ladybird book The Mid-Life Crisis.  Glossing over the lateness (by decades rather than years) of this offering, I did wonder if he’d hacked my web browser and knew that I’d only the previous week paid a ludicrous sum for tickets to see Bob Dylan in May.

If this sounds like I’d finally bought the toy I couldn’t have as a child, it wasn’t. Even though Dylan was undoubtedly part of the soundtrack of my youth (everybody has one), I was never a great fan. I found it hard to get past the wilfully off-key singing and the wayward guitar playing to hear what Simon Armitage calls the ‘metaphor, allegory, repetition, precise detail … too memorable to be anything less than crafted and composed’. Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now. Continue reading “All I really want to do…”