The Schrijfakademie teaches students how to turn their experiences into words

Tieners zitten bij elkaar in gesprek © iStockphoto.com/Stígur Már Karlsson/Heimsmyndir
© iStockphoto.com

Teachers and students in secondary education can now visit the Schrijfakademie, a website where students can practice their writing skills. The Schrijfakademie is a project of Utrecht University, financed by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), created by professor of Early Modern Dutch Literature Els Stronks and composer Micha Hamel.

Prof. dr. Els Stonks. Foto: Jos Uljee, KB
Prof. dr. Els Stronks

The Schrijfakademie gives students practice material for that part and purpose of the writing process which is seldom practiced now: expressing what you think, feel, experience, and thereby also aligning yourself with all that is happening in the world around them. Pupils thus learn to master the craftmanship of the author.

Domains

The focus of the Writing Academy consists of six domains:

  • In the Creativity Domain, students practice what it takes to get their creativity going: imagining, visualizing, but also persevering and being resourceful.
  • In the Domain of Genres, they learn to formulate within genre conventions (from reflection, to advice, to compliment to argument, and more);
  • In the Major Themes domain, they learn to tackle major themes, such as love, but also the energy crisis;
  • In the Domain Language, students learn about the (thinking) power that language can give them;
  • In the Domain of Feelings, they learn how to put into words what is going on inside them;
  • In the Domain of Impressions, they learn to describe what they perceive.

Tailormade exercises

The exercises vary in length and intensity. There are also no explicit levels attached. It is precisely in these areas that we are looking for user experiences. The website is explicitly intended as a test environment. New exercises will be added steadily, and existing exercises will be adapted.

The exercises are based on existing research into writing processes, and on interviews with students from all school types and grades, and on a survey of teachers and focus discussions with teachers from all school types and grades.