If we want our boys to become better writers, teachers should stop marking their work (so much!)
Posted: 27 May, 2012
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Yesterday, I attended the British Library's conference for teachers called Writing: Our Place, which was held in partnership with LATE (London branch of the National Association for the Teaching of English). The keynote speaker was Simon Wrigley, a former chair of NATE (the National Association for the Teaching of English) and the founder of NATE's National Writing Project. His speech was truly inspiring because he talked about the success of the project in getting not only pupils to improve their writing, but also teachers. At the heart of the National Writing Project is the notion that when teachers start doing their own writing, then they are in a much better position to improve their pupils' writing. The project is very different in tone and approach to the National Strategies and the government's current thinking because it believes that when pupils are given more freedom to write what they want, in the way they want, without the teacher breathing down their neck every minute with the red pen handy, then you see them starting to really find out what writing can do and, as a consequence, significantly improve their writing. I managed to catch Simon Wrigley briefly during the busy conference and he very kindly offered his views to camera. The project has so far anecdotally shown that boys appear to benefit when teachers hold back from marking their work. I am hoping though to interview him more thoroughly at a future date and report back in more detail about this very exciting project.