Many teachers felt strongly that the demand for particular kinds of data was making it difficult for classrooms to be places where teachers’ could act appropriately on their sophisticated understandings of children’s needs. Some held out the hope that the chief HMI’s speech in June might change things for the better, but, in the meantime, they were determined to be collaboratively pro-active. They were going to write.
Lack of time, energy and confidence were all mentioned as obstacles to writing. But the prize of increased learning and influence induced a positive ‘hurdling’ mentality. So we wrote together.
First words – jotted down then read out around the group. Then titles of stories from our lives, discussed. Then the stories themselves, free-written privately for 10 minutes. Finally, we shared in small groups - our processes and/or our products.
And the teachers' responses were as follows:
- Wonderful - we were all writing.
- Incredible - we were all 'itching' to write before even being asked to start.
- "I now like writing".
- Connections. Therapeutic. Powerful. Rich.
- Please could we start a writing project?
On November 18th ten teachers from NWP Whodunit met in the British Library. The exhibition, ‘Harry Potter: a history of magic’, inspired us to think about the hidden forces in our own lives, and consider how - by spelling, by conjuring ideas in language, and by making words come off the page - English classrooms are always magical places (with or without The God of Small Things, Harry Potter, Macbeth, The Lion, the Witch - or even the Wardrobe).
We undertook a writing sequence described as Weekly Write 13.