English and Drama

Thinking Writing and the School of English and Drama regularly collaborate in the development of teaching. For example:

  • Thinking Writing contributes sessions and advice to the departments' programmes for Teaching Associates
  • English and Drama have been particularly involved in our writing retreat programme. Each department now hosts retreats for their PhD students, and participated in our pilot scheme of retreats for third year undergraduates writing dissertations - with much positive feedback from both students and staff. More information about our retreats can be found here.

  • The first year English module, Reading, Theory and Interpretation, module is currently part of our pilot Reading Retreat scheme. More information about reading retreats can be found here.

  • The department of English created the website, Connect - Criticise - Construct, as part of our  Research-based learning project to develop their students' skills in writing collaboratively in on-line environments 

  • On a Drama module, Performance Texts, the goal has been to design a series of activities to help students grasp what is at stake in their two written coursework assignments. Thinking Writing has taken a critical questioner role to help the module teachers unpack the kinds of thinking and reflection they want the students to engage in as they move from reading a text and watching a performance to writing about the social and political work that the texts might do. The teachers have seeded a series of short writing tasks focusing on critical moments into classes, and then used the writing generated in these tasks to focus students on developing an argument in response to their assignment topics. Two workshops were included in the module design - helping students identify the theories and knowledge they wanted to draw on, and offering insight into the language that might be used to write in the descriptive/reflective/conceptual ways anticipated by the teachers. 

Catherine Maxwell is the designated Writing Tutor in the department of English. Inspired by Cornell University's writing-intensive courses she developed the module 'Nineteenth Century Aesthetic Prose' which involves students in a range of critical and creative writing tasks and requires them to keep an 'intellectual journal'. In her article about this work, Catherine talks about the kind of engaged and thoughtful writing that students often produce in this form and questions why it is less often found in the conventional student essay.