In a world where political divisions seem more entrenched than ever, and a school system which has yet to crack the problem of bullying, an opportunity to engage young people with different voices, narratives and ideas seems urgently necessary. I would suggest that the strategy of “writing in-role” holds the potential to do just this.
Writing in-role involves learners imagining themselves as other people and writing from their point of view. Examples of this could include historians writing as influential figures or people from key historical moments; scientists imagining themselves as journalists, researchers or medics; or geographers keeping journals from the perspectives of diverse peoples from across the world.
As an activity it holds several potential benefits: increased engagement in the learning, improved use of vocabulary, and a “way-in” to considering abstract concepts and imaginative worlds. Given the context I have outlined before, however, I would suggest the most powerful claim to be made for writing in-role is its power in supporting learners to empathise with other people. Young people can think beyond their immediate worlds and contexts, they can consider ancient narratives and international lives, and they can think deeply and meaningfully about other people’s experiences.
@NBentleyTweets Nick Bentley – Lead Practitioner – London