At the end of the 2014/15 academic year, the organisation where I work invited Chris Moyse, an associate of the late Paul Ginnis’ organisation, for staff development. One of the things I took away from the session was an idea called slow writing.
What is slow writing?
Firstly, slow writing is not a completely new concept – I’m sure every English teacher has made suggestions to their students to help them improve their writing:
Can you think of a way to join these 2 sentences you have written together with a linking word?
Can you use the past verb in this sentence?
Can you make this sentence more interesting with an adjective?
A bit of searching on the Internet led me to David Didau, the person behind slow writing. What David has cleverly done is to develop this into a classroom activity, which places some constraints on what learners write. For example:
- Your first sentence must use the past simple;
- Your second sentence must have 5 words;
- Your third sentence must use a linking word;
- Your fourth sentence must start with an adverb.
The idea behind slow writing is that it gets students to think more about how they write. It’s a beautifully simple idea that can easily be adapted for different students and classes from entry-level ESOL to GCSE and beyond.
David emphasises that slow writing should not be used as an end in itself, but as a scaffold to develop writing structures which should eventually be removed as students improve:
The structures will transfer to long-term memory leaving their fragile working memories free to think about subject content with great depth and sophistication.
More information about slow writing can be found here.
Slow writing on Triptico
David Riley, the developer of Triptico has come up with an app specifically for slow writing, which is completely free!