What do Good Writers do? Teaching writing in the primary classroom-Part 1
Writing is one of the most challenging strands for the primary school teacher. That’s not just me making a statement though, in a survey carried out by those Department Inspector folk, teachers reported that they find teaching children to write the most difficult. The children in their classes also reported to be least enjoyed with writing lessons too.
Now, this is an old piece of research, taken from 2005 but I woudl think not much as changed. I also don’t think there needs to be all this pain and boredom. In fact, writing in the classroom is the most rewarding, positive and fun lessons a teacher will have the honour to craft. If done properly, children can not only enjoy it but they can actually write some pretty good stuff too!
I gave a course for teachers in the Kilkenny Education Centre this summer 2012 and as I was developing the course, I got thinking. Thinking about how do teachers normally try to teach creativity to children and also can a teacher make a child be creative? These are difficult questions so I started to base the idea of teaching creative writing on what makes me write and what stimulates me to be creative. I write my own blog on writing and reading and am a obsessive member of the local writers group here in Carlow. I love reading and writing and always have. But, I too go through days of not writing and not reading and feeling guilty. So, I had researched quite a number of writing manuals (good and bad) in the area of what makes people become good writers.
Good writers-I had it! What do good writers do? How do they do it and can it teach us anything when we expect children to be automatic creative authors? I found it could and I want to share these ideas with you, in the hope they will challenge the way you think about how you teach and encourage creative writing.
I will also speak about Donald Graves, an American gentleman and teacher who became the guru for the term we know as “writing process”. He actually hated this phrase even though he coined it and preferred to call the “writing process” something more a bit simpler.
He called it “writing”
I will end this article with a quote from a relatively well-known writer, Stephen King and I want you to think about this. Often teachers put too much pressure on themselves and the class to all create amazingly well-rounded stories and characters. There is no need.