In Year Six I have just re-started the Year Six football blog in an attempt to encourage and improve writing, particularly from boys. Recent press reports have indicated that an unhealthy proportion of boys writing is well below the national standard in the UK, in fact according to the Daily Telegraph, they are around twice as likely as girls to fail in basic writing assessments.
It is well documented that this has nothing whatsoever to do with ability, moreover it is a motivation issue. I came across this fantastic article on The Globe and Mail, by Margaret Wente which suggested one possible solution was to ‘celebrate boys’ boyness’.
In a nutshell, this article summarises these main points:
- Boys need to have a good relationship with the teacher.
- Boys will only stay engaged as long as the work interests them.
- Boys need purpose, to make a difference, to know they measure up.
- Boys need challenge, above all, a need for a meaningful vocation.
- Boys need purposeful work.
- Boys long for to be a part of something bigger than themselves.
- Boys love rituals, trophies and tradition.
So, taking this into account whilst also considering the fantastic work being done in the UK right now by @DeputyMitchell, who has used blogging to incredible effect to enhance boys writing levels, I thought I would relaunch our class football blog.
The current Year Six, like many other boys around the world, are football mad! So I thought I would attempt to harness this passion by encouraging them to write a weekly report on a game of their choice. Furthermore, each week the best report will win a coveted Football Bloggers Award in assembly!
I now have a team of nine budding football journalists who are actually asking if they can write on 2,3 or 4 games a week! The possibility of tweeting their articles direct to players or even simply using their teams hashtag in a tweet about their post has added even more incentive to their writing. In addition, I have used the same blog to model writing by jotting down my musings on being a home-sick Charlton Athletic fan; I contacted a few other CAFC sites (Dr Kish & Forever Charlton) who now include our posts as part of their blog news-feed! When the boys see their posts pop up elsewhere on the web, their excitement reaches fever pitch!
So far the experiment has been very successful, and I would love to set up links with other football mad school bloggers from around the world who could share their passion for football through writing. If anyone else would be interested in getting involved, please get in touch.