The room hummed with ideas:
Their pupils would use writing
- imaginatively to open up spaces in reading texts
- personally in their own notebooks
- collaboratively to grow a ‘tree of lies’ on the classroom wall
- reflectively in detective journals
- evaluatively in exploring Darwinism, women's rights, and symbolism.
Their expressive and re-creative writing would be informed by debates, role-plays, ‘rumour soundscapes’ - and visits to nearby Wimpole Hall. Their writing would be inspired by mock-trials and by researching gender expectations in 19th century Britain.
This was a luminous example of how, by creating experimental and trusting writing clubs and classrooms, pupils develop confidence to use writing for learning - excavating, connecting, reframing.
My role was simply to ask student teachers to discuss the ‘rights of the writer’ – and the professional values that informed writing for learning beyond the tests - before using the space to write.
We wrote from remembered sounds, places and people. We used prompts, lists, diagrams. We plundered texts and made close observations of objects. We heard each other’s voices. We wrote for restoration, discovery and empathy.
Afterwards we discussed some of the benefits of teachers writing together and alongside students: a reaffirmation of creativity, a sharing of feelings, a new understanding of the process of writing and its ‘affordances for learning’, and a strengthening of professional agency.
Here is a student teacher’s perspective:
NWP outreach director