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Current Issue 

No. 80: NAWE Writing in Education

Editorial by Lisa Koning 

Welcome to the Spring edition 2020

Outside the sun is shining, I can hear the birds singing and I have just rescued a bee from my room. It’s the long Easter weekend, and I could be tricked into thinking all is as it should be. But it’s not. I haven’t seen some members of my family for weeks and they’re just down the road; some days can seem quite lonely. I like to get out; to meet with friends, to have real contact with students, to sit with my writing group critiquing each other’s work. But still, I count myself lucky, for the moment at least. My nearest and dearest are safe and well, although I am very concerned for my elderly friends and family. Here in the UK, we are three weeks into lockdown, unsure of when it will end. And we only need to look at the figures of those struck down with the Coronavirus, to understand the necessity.

As a writer and lecturer, working from home certainly isn’t a novelty for me. I’m familiar with ‘being remote’ and am comfortable using technology for meetings and staying in contact. But while I can see the efficiency when it comes to business, for many students I hope there won’t come a time when education has such limited contact. For some learners the benefits are obvious, we can teach and they can work when it suits, and I’m saving all that commuting time. But for others, and I suspect especially the fulltime students, those regular contact points - where you come together in a room with your lecturer and other students to interact - makes a real difference to how much you learn and enjoy the experience. The impetus of an online gathering, somehow isn’t quite the same. Indeed my own daughter can access her school material online, but she misses the interaction with her teachers and classmates. My inbox has become filled with student queries - ones that in the past I would have addressed quickly in class, when everyone could hear the answer. And we could discuss ideas, have a laugh, talk through any questions they might have, and generally interact. Like my daughter, I miss those moments too.

But I am hopeful that soon this period will pass, and we will emerge on the other side wiser. Perhaps we will see the positive impact our staying at home has had on the environment and think twice before taking the car unnecessarily. We might realise what a privileged time we live in, to have the luxury of popping to the shops and buying whatever we like. Perhaps there will be less waste when we can appreciate what it’s like to go without. We won’t take for granted, simple pleasures like giving a friend a hug. And we will remember to look out for those around us, not just when we’re asked to. It is to be hoped.

We have an interesting mix of contributions in this edition - from the experiences of a Poet Laureate, an interview with a Costa prize shortlisted poet, an article on creative writing instruction, a paper on the Soft Skills gap and an interesting exploration of Gaelic Tree lore in creative learning. We also have the second article in our series on self-help, which seems especially important at this time. I found the advice on online workshopping particularly relevant! 

I was also very pleased to receive my first Letter to the Editor recently. Please do write in, this is a member’s magazine after all and I’d love to hear from you.

Stay safe, stay well and look after each other.

Lisa


The latest version of Writing in Education is available online. Click on the link to the right (you must be logged in as a member) to read online. 

The printed version of the magazine will be mailed to Professional Members and Institutions during May 2020. Any other members - including e-members - may purchase printed copies by following the link below.

Associate/Student Members and those benefiting from Institutional Membership can opt to have the printed magazine sent automatically by upgrading. If you would like to do this, please contact Sophie Flood.

For a full list of contents, click on the image or the link below. NAWE members logged into the site can read the full articles. You can also browse the complete back catalogue of previous issues.

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