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Build Capacity in Staff Writing Skills | Eumundi State School
ElisePosted by Elise, Oct 27 '22

Principal Anthony Swan has been a busy man.  We caught up with him at Eumundi State School—incredibly, the third school in which he’s implemented Writer’s Toolbox—where he told us about building staff capacity, embedding explicit writing skills, and the all important ‘aha moment’. 

Anthony has a proven philosophy for successfully implementing Writer’s Toolbox into schools: “Go slow to go fast.”  

“And that's really important,” Anthony continues, “because whenever you introduce something new to a school, you never want it done to your people; you want it done with them.” 

At Eumundi, Anthony asked his staff what makes good writing, whatever the subject.  Chasing illusive answers, Anthony introduced all Eumundi staff to the Writer’s Toolbox 12 Sentence Styles.  Then, he took six staff members to a Writer’s Toolbox 2-Day Teacher Writing Conference, led by Dr Ian Hunter.  Those six staff were the early adopters; they “built the capacity of all our staff on the skills we use to make writing enjoyable to read.” 

“One of the best moments,” Anthony says, “is when you expose teachers to the Writer’s Toolbox programme and the ease of embedding it, and they get that aha moment.  That moment where they say: this just makes sense.” 

Anthony sees this as a real point of difference.  “It’s those simple, explicit, research-based skills that Writer’s Toolbox delivers,” he says.  “Unless the research actually lifts student writing outcomes, I wouldn't implement it.  And that gives confidence to my teachers, to teach those skills.”

As we thank Anthony for his time, we ask him how his teachers feel today about having Writer’s Toolbox at Eumundi State School.  “They are engaged; they're excited,” he says.  

That’s great to hear, Anthony, because that’s exactly how we at Writer’s Toolbox feel too. 

Watch below to see Anthony and other educators explain how Writer’s Toolbox improved their school’s NAPLAN and writing results.

 

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