I was accepted into the Writing Centre Summer School at Maynooth University(or SWIFT) a few months ago. The course is entitled “Teaching Writing” and is designed in conjunction with the Writing Department at University of Berkshire, USA and the Writing Department in NUI Maynooth.
It is aimed at teachers from all levels, early years to third level and this is what makes it quite unique.
I have be to countless courses on writing and often the writer, with respect is not a teacher but a brilliant writer. I am a good teacher but not a brilliant writer, a competent one with plenty to learn so I would hope I am well placed.
The first day started with a chew and chat, fabulous scones and coffee were provided. I sat at a random group and we started chatting. The first exercise was What my childhood tasted like and it was replicating the model of the writing process in a short session. This type of activity could be used with primary school children over as long as period as 8 week So! We started with listing the foods we liked or disliked from our childhood. Simple list with no descriptions yet. Then we paired and shared with our partner. The stages after this involved adding to your list, picking a few foods and drawing the ideas out until the end product of a first draft. I heard some beautiful and touching stories, food does stir the emotions and in Ireland, it is always linked with the Grandmother or the Mother of the house.
The second part of the day was facilitated by Martina, a librarian. She told us about a project she ran with a group of young adults. She created a book and published it. The last session was Ferdia McAnna, a fellow of the Institute from last year. I’ve heard so much about Ferdia and he was brilliant. Passion. Passion. Passion. It dripped from him. We learned the basics of scriptwriting and watched a very sexy scene from the film, Out of Sight.
The day flew by. Looking forward to today.