On choosing to write

By Becky Swain, Head of Learning and Participation, Arvon

During the Teachers as Writers (TAW) research, one of the professional writers made the following observation of the teachers who joined us for a residential creative writing week:

“When we encouraged them to really totally switch off their inner editor and just write – they were producing work that was really extraordinarily fresh and powerful because they lost all kind of inhibitions and self –consciousness.”

I saw first-hand that week some of the sheer pleasure that teachers found in freewriting – or what the group termed ‘Just WriteContinue reading “On choosing to write”

Tell the truth. Take your time.

By Ian Eyres, Senior Lecturer, The Open University

Before my involvement with Teachers as Writers I was for some years involved with a large-scale English teacher development programme in Bangladesh called English in Action (EIA). A couple of years into the project, a group of four or five EIA colleagues, including myself, became unusually excited by the results of one of our evaluation studies. Continue reading “Tell the truth. Take your time.”

On giving feedback

By Dr Anthony Wilson, Senior Lecturer, Graduate School of Education, University of Exeter

I found myself in the position of giving feedback to some writers recently. The writers were teachers who had signed up for two Master’s modules about writing. These comprised a critical look at how we teach writing, for which they needed to put together a research project evaluating their own practice via an analysis of pupils’ work; and a creative writing module consisting of a portfolio of creative pieces accompanied by a critical commentary. Guess which one I found harder to mark? Continue reading “On giving feedback”

The creative and the critical

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

Children’s author, Tim Bowler, once wrote:

Why is writing so tricky? Because it requires mastery of two conflicting skills: a creative skill and a critical skill. The former is of the imagination, the latter of the intellect, and they come from different brain hemispheres. To write well, we have to employ both to maximum effect.

I have always used this quotation with my PGCE group in our own ‘Teachers as Writers’ session, because it sums up so aptly an essential point about writing – that writing demands both creativity and criticality.   Continue reading “The creative and the critical”