During 2017 and 2018, we're moving in and taking over a dedicated classroom space at Canterbury Boys High School to spend some quality time with the students in all manner of creative writing endeavours.
Every Monday for a year, our storyteller-in-chief runs between two and four writing programs for boys in years 7 to 12. All programs are developed and run in close consultation with the principal and teachers at the school.
From scriptwriting and monologues to slam poetry and fictional memoirs, we are incredibly proud to be partnering with Canterbury Boys for this program. Picking up on this perhaps, ABC News also did a fabulous feature piece on the exciting literacy initiatives at Canterbury Boys' High School.
Check out the full report below, and make sure to watch student Alexander Lorenzon's brilliant slam poetry take on the Shakespearean character, Mercutio!
In 2017, we engaged NSF Consulting to run an independent evaluation of the impact of the first year of this program on participating young people. The results are very encouraging!
The evaluation found that:
- The students overwhelmingly enjoyed the workshops, rating them on 7.9 out of 10, with 21% rating them 10 out of 10.
- There were very significant improvements in confidence and enjoyment of writing. The percentage of students who said they were ’very confident’ about their writing increased from 4% before the program to to 38% after it; the percentage of students who said they ‘really enjoy’ writing increased from 11% to 36%.
- The top 3 words used to describe the workshops were ‘helpful’ (62%), ‘creative’ (58%) and ‘imaginative’ (58%).
- The Year 9 students in our Shakespeare Slam program seemed to get the most out of the workshops. They were the most likely class to say the workshop was ‘imaginative’ (67%), ‘fun' (67%), ‘awesome' (58%) and ‘inspiring’ (58%). They also rated the workshops slightly higher (8.3) and saw the largest upward shifts in writing confidence and enjoyment (8% to 58% and 17% to 67%, respectively).
- There were significant improvements in the student's writing: common features included writing that was organised and fluent, writing with a varied vocabulary, compelling and engaging writing, writing going beyond the formulaic, experimentation with language conventions, and the use of a clear, personal style and voice.