A colleague set me the challenge of considering whether it was possible to teach writing to greater depth. I went back to the research which informed our Writing For Pleasure pedagogy and found a couple of articles which looked specifically at gifted and talent writers to see what they had to say. I also used a few pieces of literature on good writing teaching to help me. The pamphlet below provides information and practical advice on what I found out. For references, please see the end of this pamphlet.
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When I was ten and a new pupil at secondary school, I wrote my first set homework assignment for R.E. – a recount of the one of the seven plagues of Egypt. After a few days my book came back with the comment (in a mean little script written in red pen): Is this all your own work? Mortified, because it was my own work and I’d written it like a story, with my usual enthusiasm and emotional investment, I approached the teacher on the pretext that I hadn’t been able to read her comment. “Well,” came the reply, “it was so vivid.” I said I had written it myself, but I could see she didn’t believe me. To this day I still feel the injury to my early strong sense of myself as a writer, and the need I had to own and assert my talent, though of course in those days, when the teacher was the ultimate authority figure, it didn’t make any difference to her judgment.
Continue reading “How you might teach greater depth writers.”