I love being a staff writer for 3BL Media/Justmeans on topics - Social Innovation, Social Enterprise and Social Entrepreneurs. When I am not writing for 3BL Media/Justmeans, I wear my other hat as owner of Serendipity PR. Over the years I have worked with high-profile, big, powerful brands and organisations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from my industry....
Social Media Trend of Blogging Gets Boys Writing
Who would have thought that the social media trend of blogging could play a role in helping to solve an age old education question of how to get boys to enjoy writing; a forward thinking approach by a UK primary school called Heathfield has seen a distinct improvement and increase in student's test scores, where the biggest impact has been on the boys who are happily churning out 5,000-word stories for their blogs in the classroom.
Heathfield Primary is now seen as a role model to encourage others around the UK to adopt its social media trends methods as the turnabout has seen the percentage of pupils getting a higher than average score in the national curriculum writing tests for 11-year-olds going from a mere 7 per cent to a whopping 63 per cent.
David Mitchell, Deputy Head at Heathfield says, "I got really frustrated at the bad press teachers were getting for school closures during the recent snow period and I threw out an idea about hosting online lessons." Taking action the school texted all the pupils' parents informing them that there would be lessons online while the children were at home. The school website then created another social media trend; a blogging platform, and soon pupils were busy blogging in response to requests from the school for them to go out into their gardens and report back on how deep was the snow.
Mr Mitchell says this social media trend "Is now a part of everyday life and the way our pupils like to communicate. They will produce their work in class and then quite happily and eagerly go home and do a blog. It's now cool to be writing, especially for the boys. It's the boys who were coming up with the 5,000-word articles first." So, this cool social media trend was officially introduced into the school curriculum and even the five-year-olds were encouraged to write about their lessons.
Not stopping there, Heathfield Primary also established ties with other schools internationally allowing their students to exchange blogs with other students as far away as Canada and Australia. Pushing the boundaries further, Heathfield also started a 'blog of the week' prize for the most exceptional piece of writing. Writing is the skill that pupils have least mastery of in tests for 11-year-olds, with only 71 per cent reaching the required standard, compared with 86 per cent in reading. The gap between girls' and boys' performance can be seen as early as seven, with the last tests for that age group showing one in four boys failing to reach the required standard compared with 13 per cent of girls. Now boys have the chance through blogging to turn things round; after this there's no looking back.
Photo credit: Extra Ketchup