Real writing: blogging is the answer

I love blogging. It gives me the chance to write. I have always loved writing and at one time fondly believed that I would become a well known writer and add to the world’s list of great writers!

Alas this was not to be and I have spent my life in contemplation of what might have been. I have been a journeyman teacher in my obscure corner of the world teaching children the joys of literature and the joy of writing. I have found myself bogged down in this pursuit because of the way that I was supposed to teach the art.

The “Literacy Hour” produced writing as a mechanical exercise. I taught children to make a brave start to their writing, explaining what they were going to write about. They then had to develop the  piece by making sure that they developed their characterisation, used their extended language and remembered to use full stops, commas and if they could, paragraphs.

We had to explore something called “genres” which meant that children wrote reports, looked at direct and indirect speech, spent ages on persuasive writing to make sure that their “audience” was moved to act upon the power of their words. We covered playwriting and poetry.

The only problem with all this was that the children rarely got the chance to complete their writing. They learnt to do a good beginning, or development (don’t forget to use the extended language!!) and then there was the ending where they had to sum everything up.. if writing a story they had to make sure they had a snappy or surprise ending.

Did this allow them to express themselves on what they wanted to write? No.. it taught them writing as a mechanical exercise. Writing becomes a chore and doesn’t really have the excitement that I am feeling now in being able to use the ability that I have with the manipulation of words to create some thing that has a finished effect that I want to produce.

My blog is about the things that I meant to write about and it gives me the ability to express myself in a way that I personally find satisfying. I do not understand those teachers who find the idea of giving children the chance to have a blog as some sort of threat to standards. It is real writing about things they want to write. It allows them to use writing as a tool to express themselves rather than as a mechanical learning of processes.

I  have personally benefitted greatly from starting as blog…. think about how this media can help our children to really develop their writing.

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