All primary class teachers personally model reading, but how many of us model creative writing using pieces we have written as opposed to examples written by others?
We model what reading aloud should sound like, we model pace, punctuation, emphasis on different words, tone and expression etc. How many of us share complete pieces of our own creative writing to model good writing, beyond highlighting a writing skill or technique in a short example involving a few words, phrases or sentences?
I guess it could be argued that there are enough good examples out there so we do not need to create our own. Equally, could it be that creative writing is a very personal activity that some/many do not feel comfortable, or wish, to share? Maybe many of us do not rate our writing . . . What constitutes a good piece of writing and who determines this? The response to a well crafted piece of ‘art’, constructed in words and associated imagery, can be so subjective. Some may view a piece as good or excellent, others may not. Perhaps it could be perceived by some that if a teacher shares some of their writing it is a form of showing off, ‘look what I have written!’, and that is something teachers seek to avoid at all cost.
I thought back to when I was a child, did any of my teachers share pieces of creative writing that they had written? I do not remember it ever happening. However, one thing I remember very clearly, when I was about 9 or 10 years of age, was a teacher sharing her passion for football and in particular her love of Chelsea football club. She would regularly bring in match programmes and recall events from the latest match. By the end of the year a majority of the class were supporting Chelsea! What if the passion shared had been creative writing (perhaps even recalling some of the matches through writing), might we have been equally inspired and motivated to write more and of a higher quality? Might we have latched on to the enjoyment of creating something unique, of opening our minds up to the magic, delight and intrigue of creating characters, places and situations through word association and imagery? I wonder . . .
I have engaged children in whole class collaborative pieces of writing and offered words, phrases or sentences to aid their individual writing or the occasional character study. However, I have never shared a complete piece of my own creative writing (except occasional stories written many years ago for assembly), I have always used the children’s writing, which I think is so important, or left it to professional writers. Now I am intrigued as to what the impact might be if I occasionally shared whole pieces of my own creative writing with the children.
Teachers as writers, to model writing, is one of the suggestions promoted in the National Strategy. I wonder, do you ever model a complete poem or piece of creative writing that you have written or like me do you tend to use short examples, words, phrases or a few sentences? It will be interesting to hear what others think and use.
Next term I am going to trial sharing a couple of stories I have written with the children. Then I am going to seek their feedback and see where we go from there. Will it have a positive impact on the children’s enjoyment and quality of creative writing? Time will tell!
I look forward to your comments and suggestions . . .