I am in the classroom of Julian Malvolio at Bayswater Elementary in Kunnunna, UE. He is setting up for the day; about to teach his Grade 5 creative writing class. We take five to have a chat about what’s bugging him.
“I was finding that the kids were just replicating a procedure. They weren’t thinking about it. They were just going through it.”
I have been thinking about this problem for some time and, after much deliberation, I have decided that I am right. The crux-point is one of a lack of understanding. Sure, kids can go through some kind of procedure to write a story, select characters and so on. But the ways this is done can be learnt and practised rote. There is much more to writing than simply placing words together, one after the other. Often, the writing is derivative, focusing on wizards and dragons.
This is why here, at the Extraordinary Learning Foundation™, we have developed the process of Narrative Do-ology™.
By moving away from simply regurgitating prose, we ensure that students truly understand the plots that they have invented themselves. The process starts with “The Act” – a way of doing that may or may not involve the construction of formulaic words. It is about telling a story.
Then, we actionize thinkiness in order to metacognitivise and truly consider the thinking that we will be deploying in order to deal with the concepts that we intend to think about.
Finally, we move to the process of understanding the narrative. To do this, children draw diagrams of the narrative structure or express it with abstract symbols. A delta, “Δ”, might indicate a key character, an arrow could represent a journey and an equals sign might signify an equivalence. Dialogue can be tricky.
It is this process that I have been working on with Julian. He is grateful to me for my wise words and for the Extraordinary Learning Foundation™ for making it possible for him to actuate this advice.
“Writing is about so much more now,” Explains Julian, “It is about a vibrancy of pictures, symbols and different forms of representation and expression. It is about story. Gone are the days when writing was just about putting words on a page.”