Teaching teachers to be writers and illustrators!
A new two-year course for primary, secondary and SEND teachers in our partner schools was kicked off May 2017. This programme is unique in scale and depth, and aims to upskill and empower teachers – through live and distance-learning sessions – by developing their skills as writers and visual storytellers. Participants will learn new techniques and processes to support the teaching of creative writing and visual storytelling in the classroom, by developing their own illustrated stories for children, which will be published in an anthology at the end of the programme. In 2018 we are piloting several three-day residentials to deliver this course, with the aim of offering teachers inspiring surroundings in Wales and Devon, away from their everyday teaching pressures.
This experience of writing for publication will equip teachers with new insights and expertise around narrative development, editorial and publishing processes. The course is led by Andrew McMillan, award-winning poet and senior lecturer in Creative Writing (BA) at Liverpool John Moores University, and supported by children’s picture book illustrator Sarah Dyer.
We are delighted to be working with renowned scholars Drs. Pat Thomson, Chris Hall and Jenny Elliott of the Centre for Research in Arts, Creativity and Literacy (CRACL) at the School of Education, University of Nottingham, to evaluate our Write & Teach CPD course. Between them, they have worked with and for the Royal Shakespeare Company, Tate Gallery, Nottingham Contemporary, UKLA, Arts Council England, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Prince’s Trust, and many more, including internationally.
Their approach will be participatory and involve the teachers themselves in assessing their own experience, confidence and skills to deliver engaging, rich creative writing and visual storytelling activities. Together with facilitators Andrew and Sarah they will develop an alternative, practical tool that supports teachers in appraising pupils’ creative writing and visual storytelling skills, detached from the usual language of academic assessment. Classroom observations and pupil focus groups will complete the picture. Ultimately, we hope to show that where teachers have opportunity and confidence to be writers themselves, their classrooms are spaces of creative equality where pupils highly value writing and visual storytelling and where their skills improve as the story-making process is professionalised.
SUPPORTED BY: Paul Hamlyn Foundation