11 September 2018

Writing - Reflections and Narratives

unsplash-logoClem Onojeghuo

Time and time again, I face learners who struggle with the challenge of writing. Often, they are writing in a second or third language. Often, they have not had the academic training or practice of writing well in their first language and then often enough, feel insecure when it is necessary to write in English.  For any educator who teachers a second/foreign language, this scenario will quite likely be familiar. 

Nevertheless, writing continues to be an important skill, both in academic and professional environments. Increasingly, reflective writing is taking a more visible role in the learning process - not only requiring learners to keep a learning journal, but for learners to think critically about their learning process.  Again, this is not necessarily new, even though the role of reflection is now being more widespread and becoming common practice in many educational settings. 

As Nigel Coutts points out, 

"Our students require now, as perhaps they have for a long time, skills and dispositions which will allow them to find and solve problems, deal with complexity and ambiguity and communicate their ideas with clarity. Knowledge may not have the value and power that it once did in times before Google, but being devoid of knowledge is a state of being no-one would argue for. Skills or knowledge alone have little real world value. Intelligence is being able to use what you know in new ways and to solve new problems. "

One of these skills is, writing. Writing helps one to reflect and to clarify ideas which may otherwise be transient and consequently lost to the learner. Writing helps one to make sense of our experiences, our learning and how one can best relate the learning experience to the world outside the classroom.  In many ways, the act of writing, of reflecting, is learning by doing - something all learners need to have experience of. 

Below are 2 videos which help learners to understand the reasons for reflective writing,
based,  as many may be familiar  with, the Gibbs reflection cycle. 

As for writing for pleasure, for discovery and letting one's imagination run loose, and creating one's own fictional narratives, there is Edward - .
Write your First Novel

For budding authors or simply for learners who wish to write, Edward - Write your First Novel  is a great place to start.

Lastly, I'd like to thank Nik Peachey with whom I first learnt about Edward - Write Your First Novel. 

unsplash-logoKaeyla McGee

How will you be encouraging writing this academic year?

What narrative writings will your learners experiment with?

Further Suggestions:

Debating false dichotomies: a new front in the education wars - Nigel Coutts

The Trick Question

Reflecting Learning on Teacher Training Courses

Do You Imagine?

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