I’ve been busy writing a new book: Write Your Own Adventure – Using Choice-Based Fiction in Schools. It’s intended to be a teaching resource for educators who want to use the power of choice-based adventure stories to create a strong writing culture in their classes, to engage uninterested writers and to broaden children’s experience of writing.
And to change the world.
Maybe not all at once, but incrementally, in the same way that Dave Lowery changed the world when he taught me and my classmates how to write Choose-Your-Own-Adventures at Lynncroft Primary School in 1995. Without his work, there would be no Steam Highwayman, no Words and Ideas nor any Mr Noutch in any of the schools I’ve taught in.
Teaching is a strange profession and at times it can be disappointing to see how pedestrian and predictable teachers are in their methods and philosophy. I think this is essentially due to many of them reproducing their own schooling, which accounts for the inherent conservatism of the educational system as a whole. But, wild-eyed and visionary though I am to many of my colleagues, I’m only trying to build a tower on a foundation that was laid in my own childhood.
Have you read Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed? I think that’s largely to blame for my readiness to accept the responsibility, as a teacher, of changing the world by educating a new generation with a new set of values and interests – not just skills or knowledge. It’s something I’ve played with exploring in fiction elsewhere in my Teacher on Mars novel – unfinished, obviously, or you’d see a banner atop this website urging you to go buy it online and in your local sci-fi section.
But I wish I heard more stories of teachers unafraid to do something different and to actively shape their students’ futures, rather than satisfy themselves doing a job and fulfilling someone else’s requirements, so I guess that producing this book is another part of that.
Finished date? I’m aiming to have it done by Christmas. Buy it for the Literacy Coordinator in your life.