When it comes to younger students, a relaxed atmosphere is the one essential ingredient of our lessons. Enjoyment, fun, exploration, development, enrichment and knowledge are all important too, but children thrive most in a no-pressure environment.
No-pressure is the key here. I do my best to help children improve their writing without it feeling like school. We are here to develop skills which last a lifetime, not just until the next test is done, or the exam after that, or even in those big exams waiting years ahead.
However, I do alo believe in challenging children, and this can be done without it feeling like extra stress or anything to do with homework.
I love helping children explore a wide variety of texts, including poems and plays. We have fun and talk about lots of different ideas and themes, but alongside all this children are learning to pick out themes and ideas and to work out their own way of answering questions so that they will not feel pressure in tests and exams.
I often combine my English Literature lessons with creative writing as understanding why something is written and what it means also helps children to use that knowledge in their own writing. It becomes common-place for them to use methods which create a stronger story, for instance, and to be able to edit their own work.