Camy, Hillary, and Hannah
Today’s post comes to us from Hannah Perry, a junior English/Systems major.
This summer, I had the pleasure of working with Hillary Foreman, Camy Hanna, and Dr. Carie King to create a youth summer writing camp. (The first camp would take place on Taylor’s campus in 2018.) Our research was sponsored by the Faculty Mentored Undergraduate Summer Scholarship (FMUSS) program at Taylor, which funds work in various academic departments across campus.
While we all belong to the English department, each member of the team had a different concentration that allowed us to contribute unique perspectives to the project. Hillary Foreman, a senior Creative Writing major, was writing grant proposals for funding while also forming our philosophy; Camy Hanna, a senior English Education major, developed curriculum; and I, a junior Literature/Systems major, focused on logistics and marketing.
Our research centers on the desires and needs of the Upland and Grant County community. We want to incorporate this writing camp into the established community, tailoring the program to benefit young students’ academic and personal development. We found that there are not many opportunities for young students in Grant County to experiment with writing outside of school.
In our research, we looked at the formats and curricula of several successful writing camps around the country and the world. We want to offer local students a meaningful program that not only improves their writing skills but also encourages critical thinking and provides a means for young people to articulate their ideas.
One of the biggest questions we asked in our research was, “Why do we write?” Particularly during a student’s late elementary years, it is difficult to adopt a growth mindset approach to writing. Students can begin to view writing as a required activity, a school assignment in which they may not feel challenged to write beyond what gives them a completion grade.
A simple opportunity such as a writing camp can help students experience writing as gratifying, as they not only learn to view writing as a creative outlet, but also think more deeply about their perceptions of the world. By articulating their thoughts on paper, they learn to find words for what they see and imagine, working their way toward discovering truths about themselves and humanity. With practice, this kind of critical thinking trains students to develop a more effective approach to communicating and interacting with the world around them.
We are thrilled to work on a project that promotes the value of our department’s expertise and serves the students, parents, and teachers of our community. Keep your eyes open for more updates on our new writing camp, coming next summer!
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