Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Writing students demand homework

Back to the present, as it were, my new pc, new server, new email address settling in. I hope. As I was saying, surprise, delight and demand came to me from students last week, in the form of requests for homework.

Maybe writing students have changed, or maybe I'm doing something differently. When I began teaching creative writing and asked students to bring in something done at home for the following class -- and planned a good 15 minutes to hear these and give feedback -- I was sorely disappointed. And left with an embarassing gap in my planned 2 hours.

I've learned since then how to fill sudden gaps (pairs talk on latest writing need etc; or a spot of reflective writing). Still learning: how to give homework on demand.

One class has a lot of new-to-creative writers, new to classes too. Very shy of reading out. So I devised a takeaway sheet with a dozen or so possible scenes, situations or monologues to choose from. These jump off from information and exercises covered so far in class.

For my other class, more advanced and deep into their own pieces, I created '8 Days a Week' -- an envelope for each writer containing 8 slips of paper. Each slip has a starting phrase or a situation, very simple and sketchy because the writers are in completely individual worlds and stages of their work in hand. Instructions: to be used Only for Stuckness. They should really endure and overcome the blank page freeze syndrome for themselves... but I've softened and provided an emergency escape.

If anyone out there wants to know the Homework Sheet Choices or Stuckness Prompts, contact me via comments.


nellie59 said...

Hi, I am a creative writing teacher in adult education. I just started teaching my first course in September and next week I am running an improvers class. Please can you let me have the Homework sheet choices and Stuckness prompts? Thanks very much.

MoiraG said...

I am also a creative writing tutor, in Yorkshire. Would love to have the Homework sheet choices and Stuckness prompts (great phrase!)Thanks. I am also willing to share any ideas I use for my classes, if there is anything in particular you would like.
You have inspired me too to start my own blog about my own writing. Now I am (semi-)retired I have more time to do this.