This was originally posted at: https://www.nationalwritingproject.uk/blog-main/helping-the-spread
South Downs NWP Convenor and secondary English teacher, Theresa Gooda, shares her experience of writing as part of the UKLA Teachers’ Writing Group.
As we pass ‘Freedom Day’ and the heightened messages about ‘stopping the spread’, it has been wonderful to welcome a different sort of spread: the proliferation of teachers’ writing groups. It is heartening, in these troubled times, to know that the practice of teachers writing, the opportunity for personal reflection about writing, and the possibility of changing practice through regular dialogic conversations with colleagues about writing, continues to spread. Because we know, of course, that voice (in writing as well as speech) is ‘created’, both unconsciously but also deliberately constructed, in dialogue with other voices (Bakhtin, 1986).
As well as being privileged to lead the South Downs NWP group, and recently been invited to be part of the wonderful UEA NWP group, I have also lately participated in a new venture at UKLA: their Teachers’ Writing Group, run by Ross Young at Writing 4 Pleasure. They share similar principles with NWP about being part of a community that promotes research-informed writing teaching, and about the importance of being a writing teacher generally.
Like much of our lockdown and post-lockdown life, meetings are remote, via Zoom. In the first meeting, in early June, participants were invited to experiment with dabbling as an idea generation technique alongside the reading of a children’s book.
In July’s meeting, the work of writer-teacher Peter Elbow was championed, and in particular the value of free writing.
Mostly though, the group achieved that joyful, valuable thing we all need: of carving out space and time to write. I’m already looking forward to August’s meeting.