Friday 19 February 2010

Learning to Write

It’s good occasionally to have news about your students – the sort of news that makes you think you are doing the right thing. A colleague mentioned that she had some of the students from a course I ran last year in her class. “No, you’ve got the age wrong there,” one of them had said. They had apparently learnt something last year.
We had our external examiner here this week. He recognised a certain maturity in our programme. We do have a good balance of expertise and research areas – two different sorts of poetry, two different sorts of fiction though with some overlap and some experience in playwriting, writing for radio and screenwriting. We can also “buy in” screenwriting from another school. In addition, we know each other well and there is a lot of respect for each other’s work – even where we don’t understand it. We are clear on our assessment areas and procedures and we are proud of our Final Portfolio sessions. They are probably our trademark.
I think we have a healthy and varied programme on offer. A general introduction to several genres in the first year, and we can all pretty well teach any bit of it, though I tend to do the life writing and the fiction, and more appropriate people the poetry and script-writing. In the second and third year, we teach to our specialisms. In the final year we also supervise projects in small groups – our flagship Final Portfolio. It does seem so very appropriate for us to teach towards our specialisms.
And occasionally we get feedback that we are doing the right thing.

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