I was sharply reminded today that not everyone shares the realisation of the value of blogging as an educational tool. My two students seem to have forgotten all about Progress Report over the Easter break, reverting in one case to pen and paper and in the other to doing no writing at all before coming for a lesson.
Sadly, the writing produced for my inspection showed none of the flair that had been emerging from the blog interaction - rather as pupils would seem engaged by a class lesson and then go off and do as they'd always done. And yet I'm convinced that continuous practice in writing for an audience is the way to hone these skills - and that the kind of piecemeal work which focuses on specific skills is (a) perfectly suited to blogging and (b) absolutely necessary to develop stylish and accurate prose.
I hammered away at the old mantra: Writers write. If they don't write, the skills languish. It is often felt that there is little you can do in preparation for a Writing exam - apart from knowing how much you can write in an hour and fifteen minutes - because the questions cannot be predicted. This is nonsense. If there is anyone out there preparing for the nonsense of the Writing Exam at Standard Grade (do you think Graham Greene wrote in exam conditions?) there are indeed ways to prepare.
Observe people, places, sights, atmosphere with the eye of what Edwin Morgan called the "accursed recorder". Be aware of yourself as a participant in a story called Life (though not all the time - you'll get a name for yourself). Listen to what people actually say and how they say it. And write something every day - a paragraph, a good sentence, a snatch of dialogue, a description. And if you're fortnate enough to be in the 2% of web users who publish a blog - make use of it!
And now I'm away to let the bee out of my bunnet.....