On Wednesday, October 11th I had the pleasure of welcoming twenty teachers to Springburn Academy to attend the launch event of the Glasgow group of the National Writing Project UK. We received a huge response from teachers during our promotion of the event, suggesting there is a real appetite for involvement in an NWP(UK) group here in Scotland and I was delighted with the turn-out. A variety of people attended including primary and secondary teachers, principle teachers, teachers now working in senior management for education services and even a head teacher with a background in Maths! Names and contact details were collected at the end of the evening and it looks like we’re going to have a really strong base for our Glasgow group.
Anyone who was unable to attend on the night can still express interest in joining the group using the following link.
The session was led by Simon Wrigley, one of the co-founders of the National Writing Project (UK) who first outlined the history and purpose of the Project before going on to explain why he thinks it is so important that teachers of writing should write. Put simply, he argued it seems strange to ask pupils to do something we wouldn’t do ourselves and that, by writing ourselves, whether personally or alongside pupils, we as teachers can develop a better understanding of the challenges of writing creatively. This then makes us better placed to support pupils in the classroom.
The session included a few different writing activities. One asked attendees to reflect on their own experiences of writing. This produced a thought-provoking dialogue with people sharing the pleasure they took in writing letters to pen pals or family as young children, and some sharing their negative experiences of feedback and the impact this had on them as they grew older with some people still feeling reluctant to write as a result.
The final session of the night was a free writing activity where we were asked to write for five minutes without planning and without stopping. I confess to stopping briefly during this session to look around the room and I was delighted to see everyone with their heads down, writing away. Reflections on this activity afterwards suggested people for the most part had written about quite personal subjects and found the activity to be cathartic. Most were surprised at how much they wrote and how easily the ideas came to them.
I would like to thank everyone for coming along on a work night to attend our launch event and making it such a fun experience. I hope to see many of you soon at the first meeting of our Glasgow group. Anyone wishing to get in touch with me to discuss the group further can do so by email or find me on Twitter.
Glasgow group leader