Bunthorne's Blog

Stewart McGowan's blog

Crime Writing Masterclass

I know some people are over crime writing as an elective but I’m still a big fan. But I’ve been thinking about the best way to deliver it to Extension English while I’ve been at conference.

There’s some innovative ideas out there. Yesterday I saw Bianca Hewes talking about her project based learning approach to Extension. Exciting! She had her two main assessment tasks both based on collaboration: a novella and a website on romanticism. The website is here: http://lastromantics.weebly.com/. It’s really worth a look, especially if you’re feeling a bit jaded with Extension. I think I may use this approach with crime, and direct students to this site as an example.

The masterclass on Tuesday also threw up a range of ideas. The power of the object in writing – I got to hold one of the razors used by the razor gang! – and the power of place is something I think we brush over. The photo will do, too hard to get there…. So yes, the Justice and Police Museum tour is definitely worth the effort.

What I’m thinking about is how to get students in Extension to write more often and more effectively, working in collaboration with others, commenting on each others’ work. My first thoughts were that I could use an edmodo driven ‘ten pieces in ten weeks’ approach, with a mixture of critical and creative writing. This needs work, though. How do I encourage students to take control? How do I make it about learning, not just hack work? How do I keep it ‘low stakes’, so that students feel comfortable about sharing their writing, while also thinking of ‘high expectations’, so that students can learn more about themselves as writers? How do I make it multimodal?

Okay, too many questions. But at least this is a starting point.


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