How are we doing? We checked in with our young writers

Posted by theministry on 29th November 2016

This year, we’ve been investigating how our writing clubs make a difference to our young writers. Here’s what we found out:

Creative space

Our workshop space, with lots of nooks and crannies to curl up and write, piles of books and walls packed with illustrations, helps motivate young people to write. One parent commented: “By coming here and getting her imagination out, she’s less fearful, and that’s a motivation in itself”

Mentoring

Having our dedicated volunteer writing mentors on hand to give 1:1 focus can help support and inspire our young writers. One mentor observed of one young writer: “she responds well to having someone pay attention to her – if you can refer back to earlier conversations or earlier ideas, it seems to boost her”.

Sharing

Every one of our creative sessions ends with a sharing of children’s work, where both adult mentors and children give positive feedback. One young writer said; “What helps me feel more confident is if I share it out”

Publishing

We publish and present children’s work regularly, which helps build our writers’ pride and confidence in their work. One young person commented: “If I find something inspirational I make it my own. I’m really proud of my work”. A parent said their child had “come out more in terms of communication, confidence, eye contact and body language”. Another said their child can read out their work and “not worry if they make a mistake like they used to”.

Motivation, confidence and communication skills

We’ve been able to see that attending one of our of school clubs, especially over more than one year, can have a positive impact on motivation, confidence and communication skills. One young person said: “Ministry of Stories helped me with my writing because I normally write about one paragraph in my school” another told us “I’m better at writing now, and I feel more brave”. One child told us our clubs had helped them “with my writing and saying what I feel”.

What’s next?

It’s great to hear our clubs and projects are helping to grow young writers. However, there’s always more to do. Next year we want to look at how our projects can help build creative confidence and an interest in ‘writing for pleasure’. In evaluating confidence, motivation and communication skills we’ve also realised we need to explore these ideas further. We realised there is a difference between personal confidence, i.e. reading out loud and creative confidence i.e. trusting the ‘writer’s voice’ in your head when editing.

We also want to ensure our programme gives children the best chance of moving through the creative stages of exploring, experimenting and enjoying as we’re seeing the difference between extrinsic motivation ‘I am writing to please adults’ and intrinsic motivation ‘I am writing to please myself’.

If you would like to find out more about how we evaluated our work and what we have planned for the future, email our Creative Learning Manager emma@ministryofstories.org

 

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