Kirsty Sullivan, the museum's education officer, gave us a hugely stimulating whirlwind tour of the exhibitions - and then we sat and wrote and talked - and wrote some more - and shared.
Unexpected characters, situations and connections poured off the page. A bottle blistered with whips; a burning child drowned in the Thames; we rowed in the dark with Violet, Jack and their uncle on a smuggling mission; we met three mariners, a stevedore, a lighterman, a daughter boycotting sugar and many others - not forgetting the poor wife of a fishmonger whose stinking hat-brim was a 'festering fishy moat'!
It is a privilege both to listen to others and to have a supportive audience for one's own writing. These are some of the refreshments and inspirations which writing teachers enjoy with NWP. Teachers and classrooms are stronger for such experiences.
Many museums and galleries offer talks and hands-on experience of artefacts in school, as well as opportunities for school parties on location. Such learning approaches give students greater 'ownership' of their learning and are sometimes theorised as 'constructivist':
... teachers create cultures and values that address the ways students shape meaning in social groups, use community resources and place the teacher as learning facilitator ... museum educators can create ways for all students, not just some, to learn and voice their ideas through ... small study groups in the gallery - groups that write and reflect together.
Learning Theory in the Museum setting
The NWP WHODUNIT WRITING GROUP meets again at the Wellcome Collection on Sat 7 November, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. 'Trace the edges of consciousness' with this exhibition:
If you are a teacher, student teacher or lecturer and you would like to join us at the Wellcome - for free, please use the contact form.
NWP outreach director