"A word after a word after a word is power" - Margaret Atwood


A blog for readers and writers

A blog about the stories we tell each other and how we tell them...

Friday, 25 June 2010

The ULTIMATE vocational subject

Just joined in the discussion at The Guardian's cultural blog about the benefit of writers visiting schools.
Here is what I had to say...
As the ultimate vocational subject, creative writing has an important place in the classroom and the university lecture hall. Using the written word effectively is always an asset, especially when faced with the most daunting of blank pages - the one that appears on job application forms.
As a member of New Writing South's Creative Learning team (www.newwritingsouth.com ) I have been a writer in school and can testify that it is a rewarding experience. No, it's more than that, it is an exciting experience...And it's not just for the gifted and talented.

I worked for 10 weeks with a group of year 8 students and their parents all of whom lacked confidence in their literacy skills. We linked writing exercises to the history of the school and in one session parent and child imagined themselves on a railway platform at the start of WWII as the first evacuees were leaving. Everyone - even the shyest - chose to read out what they had written.

No one spoke, no one moved, as parent after parent, child after child, used a story to say the things that are rarely said aloud.

One immediate outcome of the project was that the parents as a group elected to carry on studying together to improve their literacy skills and be a more effective support to their children.

Margaret Atwood said a word after a word is power...our children need that power and having a writer in school is one way of giving them a space to play with language, have fun with it and claim it as their own.

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