Nurturing and developing a new crop of young creative writers through direct training, as well as improving the skills and techniques of our teachers, remain the core objectives of the Writers In Schools & Education (W.I.S.E) suite of programmes facilitated by the Cultural Development Literary Arts Desk of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) and generously supported by the Maria Holder Memorial Trust.
Cultural Officer for Literary Arts, Mrs. Ayesha Gibson-Gill noted that the current W.I.S.E Junior Camp which forms part of the W.I.S.E suite of programmes, offers an introduction to creative writing and critical thinking as a skill set and a means of expression for children and teens. Complementing this is the W.I.S.E Teacher Training Workshop, which provides in-depth analysis on the reading, writing and improvement of poetry for teachers and direction on how to encourage and improve the short stories and essays of their students.
Mrs. Gibson-Gill added that the W.I.S.E programming has taken the form of in-school writer’s residencies and workshops; junior writers’ camps, weekend workshop and teacher training sessions. They all focus on the building blocks of writing and developing poetry and prose (fiction and nonfiction); which may be presented on the page, stage, or even the screen, both locally and regionally.
The educators who successfully completed the recently concluded teacher training component met at the NCF on Thursday, January 24th to collect their certificates, presented by sponsor representative Ms. Ruchelle Roach, Chief Project Manager of the Maria Holder Memorial Trust.
Both Roach and Gibson-Gill expressed elation at the number of participants in this intermediate level workshop, with Ms. Roach commenting that it was the highest cohort to date since The Trust came on board, with twenty-three teachers. The re-allocation of the teacher training sessions to the Christmas holidays also afforded participants access to the W.I.S.E Junior Creative Writing Camp for their practicum during the workshop.
These sessions were held under the tutelage of Samuel Soyer and Nailah Imoja who facilitated workshops on the teaching of poetry and short story/essay reading, presentation and writing respectively, for participants who teach from nursery to adult level students and a few parents too.
Soyer gave practical tips, exercises, examples, lesson prompts, plans, resources and showcases on how to assist students in starting, creating, enhancing and improving their written poetry. Imoja, in addition to tutoring on how to teach short story and essay writing, also administered the practicum assignment, a group lesson plan using the NIFCA Winning Words Anthologies.
The Maria Holder Memorial Trust founded in 2007, works with established programmes operated by government and registered NGO’s or charities. One of its primary focuses, a dedication to enhancing education and advancing the cultural and artistic expression of young people, coincides with that of the NCF’s Literary Arts programming. For the past three (3) years the Trust has been supporting the W.I.S.E Workshops without hesitation.
Mrs. Gibson-Gill again thanked the Trust for their gracious contribution to the development of the literary landscape with their injection of a substantial grant that supports the programme.