Saturday, July 09, 2005

Post-AATE Conference, #2

I guess that I might as well work my way through some of the 'sessions' that I attended, for want of a better way to structure my reflections.

One of the first workshops that I went to was entitled 'Approaches to texts in writing classes: different directions for English?' led by David Homer and Claire Woods. They shared some of the work they were doing with their writing students in the Professional and Creative Communication program at the University of South Australia. I'm not entirely sure how 'different' these directions really were, at least for secondary English/literature, but I did engage with the way that they encouraged students to interact with texts from a writer's perspective, rather than simply (well, simply is probably the wrong word) as a reader. The way that they described it was "reading with a writer's eye"- using imagination as a critical tool through re-writing, re-visioning, etc, and "writing into the text rather than about the text". This can result in blurring (and challenging) discourses, including the good ol' generic essay response- one of the reasons why I found the possibility of 'playing' with form and genre in 'assignments' for English Method at Monash during my Dip Ed year so refreshing.

One of the activities that we got to have a go at in the workshop was a 'creative response' to William Carlos Williams' poem 'This is just to say'. The presenters described how some of their students had responded to the poem in a dynamic way using sticky notes to represent a conversation between two people on the door of the fridge. My response wasn't so intriguing (but I did only have five minutes):

This is just to say
I left the plums
in the ice box
for you-

A juicy treat
to sweeten
the sting
of my betrayal.

The cool purple orbs
were from the

My lover.

You are forgiven.
Do you forgive me?

I like it how you can find five minutes in the middle of a conference to write a poem that makes you smile to yourself (and at William Carlos Williams).

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