Few Key Takeaways from the ‘Online Creative Writing Courses for Teachers’

Here are a few key takeaways from the two Online Courses I conducted for over 300 Primary and Secondary English teachers on “Teaching Creative Writing” in the last 3 months.

 

1.  We have some brilliant writers amongst our English teachers who can compete with the best in the world.

 

2.  Writing well does not automatically lead to speaking well or teaching well. They require different skill sets. The teaching methodology even in the best schools has shown paucity. Hence training is critical. If children learn with excellent teaching strategies, they carry the learning with them into the future.

 

3.  When teachers work on assignments during the Online Course, it becomes clear that they are significantly undertrained to teach writing. They are stretched beyond their comfort zones and to deal with this is courageous. When we work hard at something, the efforts are not wasted and in the end children benefit.

 

4. The areas where improvements are required are: understanding genres, analysing multi-layered questions, making rubrics. Teachers must break away from the traditional “test taking” mindset and shift to “learning mindset”.

 

5.  Participants are quick to see the benefits of the big picture when they experience it. The assignments make them more empathetic to children’s needs. They realise how much there is to learn and practice and they acknowledge it. They realise how our professional courses fall short in providing them the necessary skills.

 

6. Traditional Workshops are a failed model of training, leading to waste of money, time and effort. There are no assignments, and no rigorous engagement required for effective learning. It’s a feel good model that is tick boxed by schools as professional development.

 

7.  Instead of individual feedback on assignments, collective feedback allows collaboration in sharing content produced by other participants. They generate immense classroom resources and exemplify pedagogical strategies for success. It paves the way for a new mode of collaborative learning and corrections in the classroom that is modelled by the course. This will create a paradigm shift where the teachers are released from the punishing wasteful yoke of traditional corrections and are free to teach instead. No one believes this till they experience it.

 

8. Teachers have benefitted from the question papers they encountered and have seen how students can be invited to recount, comment, use materials for application, make questions, research to share content, and generate own content.

 

9. Teachers experience the inter-relationships between the various arms of English like comprehension, grammar, poetry and reading to impact writing. They practice integration of subjects to economise on time and effort through self-generated questions. Integration is now a definite possibility in the 21st century skill called collaboration.

 

10. Teachers must use volume, frequency and context to teach. They witness the benefits of layering as they journey through the course. It is more than writing that they learn. The course is also about pedagogy, strategy, planning, terminology, corrections and philosophy of learning through practical work. It is both a personal and professional journey.

 

We owe this learning journey to our children.

Story of my pre primary book production..

Pre-primary books

This is the story of my Pre-Primary book production. November end 2019, I was let down badly by the last of the book designers who promised the stars and delivered zilch! I was close to shelving the project.

Come December, there appears on the scene, magically, a design guy – fickle, unreliable, shirking but supremely, wonderfully talented! I imprison him in my office, and we work like maniacs raving and ranting, biting the bullet. The books get designed in a record of 3 months of which one is wasted in the man’s procrastination. The books are ready for print in the raw by March 15th. We lockdown the office and soon the country is locked. Touch and go! Skin of the tooth timing!

Here I am in the picture, with 24 of them babies, (8 for each year) for the 3 foundation years. The last ones couldn’t be printed because of the lockdown. They got delivered just a few weeks ago after battles with containment zones. It’s a labour of pure love! Precious and miraculous! It was meant to be!

You will see the true spirit of holistic education of the NEP 2020 in them. The books for Pre-Primary children are: English Vocabulary & Literacy; Phonics Sight & Rhyme Reader; Numeracy & Logic, Environment; Culture & Science; Talking Pictures; Art & Construction; Stories for Critical Thinking; Oral Activities for Fluency. Set of 8 books each for 3+, 4+ and 5+ years. Nursery, Kindergarten or Pre-Primary years.

Stories, games, songs, clips, poems, critical thinking stories, art and construction work, science and STEM, oral fluency work, sight reading programme, taking pictures that scale for holistic work, numeracy based on discoveries, math stories, games and a language programme that is unique and guarantees success. It’s smashing!

I call them the “Magic Box” Series, as really the effect on children will be magical !

I want to take it straight to parents. With the books, the entire year’s curriculum is in the parents’ hands. No more sporadic work-intensive worksheets. What’s more, I plan to do a course for parents called the ‘Pre- Primary Parent Patshala’. Transparency and sharing are the only way forward. As author and creator, I will train parents on how to use these books with their children. Our children deserve the best to preserve their natural genius.

So, if you have children between the ages 3 and 6 do write to us about your interest in all this. My training programmes, legendary for their effectiveness and value for money, will be for 4 months. We want our kids to shine at the end of the 3 years and truly realize those promises made in the NEP 2020. Foundation Right, Future Bright is our motto!

Buy a set for yourself from our website  or from Amazon or Flipkart. Type ‘Usha Pandit Pre Primary books’ in the search box and you will find them. You will also be able to see some sample pages. They are wonderfully inexpensive. Gift them to kids who are starting life. Let them have the edge and be proper 21st Century champions.