Our school perhaps doesn’t have the perfect culture for writing. However, our school does have an exceptional reading culture. Unlike other places I’ve worked (some rated as having outstanding English departments), every student has a reading book with them at all times.
I often tell the following anecdote to emphasise to other teachers how our school (under the leadership of our excellent director) encourages all (and I mean ALL) pupils with an investment in reading, no matter how small. One lad came to us having been expelled from another school some years back. His first words in my classroom involved a few four letter words. After some apt admonishing, and three weeks, he had read 30,000 words (according to our reading programme) and was invited to present to a Catholic Heads meeting about how he discovered our library – it apparently didn’t exist at his old school.
The benefits of our reading culture are immense, but that is for another post. I wonder, and feel recently driven, to see if our students can begin to embrace something of a writing culture.
I guess that the fact I am sitting in this sea-front cafe taking some time out of my day to freely write some thoughts to the audience of a faceless ether suggests that I have some investment into writing for the sakes of writing. In addition, I was a great fan of Freedom Writers. However, I wonder how much this can make a difference to our students.
I must admit, that I do not expect my students in my lower-ability KS3 classes to write at length with no stimulus other than an idea. This week, though, I am going to see if they can. With modelling (maybe of a draft post onto the quill guy) perhaps.
Watch this space!