Working with Poets

Working with a poet

Working with poets – as for working with authors – in workshop sessions, provides teachers and students with opportunities for deeper engagement with the writing process, guided from the point of view of an expert. Students can begin to see poets as real people, demystifying them and the work they do, and bringing a 'realness' to both the writing and creativity processes. They might also begin to explore their own personal aspirations for writing in the future.

Case study: Engaging Reluctant Writers

This project was made possible through a grant from the Walcot Foundation, and was run at CLPE during the 2014 – 2015 academic year, lead by John Hegley.

Year 5 students from 5 schools in Lambeth (20 in total) attended 2 poetry workshops with John where they engaged with and responded to his poems, then had the opportunity to write and perform their own poems.

The students were accompanied by a member of teaching staff who received professional development in how to engage reluctant readers and writers through poetry, and were encouraged to take aspects of the day back to the classroom, empowering the students who attended the sessions as expert leads and role models.

Students were given a writing journal in which to write their own poems on, and in between, course days – they were encouraged to bring these back and share with John at the second workshop. Some of the students filled their first journal and obtained additional journals to continue their writing prior to the second session.

The second workshop was an opportunity to work with John again, editing their poems and using ICTresources at CLPE to upload to the poetryline website, and to publish and illustrate their work to create a printed anthology to take back to their schools. These activities celebrated their work and their perception of themselves as published poets; raising self confidence and self esteem as writers.

The workshop sessions were very positively received by the participating teachers and students.

“Really lovely to work so closely with the poet. Nice for the children to connect as it closes the gap between them (i.e. as the poet) and us. I have enjoyed the relaxed approach that John has and allowing a lot more freedom and creativity in the children is something I definitely want to encourage when working with children.”– Participating teacher from Granton Primary School, Lambeth