Skip to main content

Posts

ARTiculate Education - rethinking primary creative writing

Hello! My name is Stefan Kucharczyk and I am an experienced primary school teacher, lecturer and writer based in Leeds (UK). I have always loved losing myself in stories: in books, films, computer games, theatre, lego and anything and everything else. But my real passion has always been writing.

Now, I work with primary school children and teachers to support them in making writing an immersive, creative and fun experience. I am interested in the potential of creative, enquiry-based learning to change the way we think about education in primary schools (and education in general) and to help prepare young learners to live and flourish as literate citizens in an exciting world. I also work in Higher Education as a lecturer with the Open University.

No, I am not an all-seeing expert with schemes of work under my arm, but I have experience, passion, imagination and the willingness to take a risk - all that you need to change the world.

To book me for workshops, CPD, speaking engagements o…
Recent posts

A thought on 21st Century Education

One of the educational buzzwords that I am attached to is ‘21st Century education’. I love it. And, while I am partly sure it is connected to my love of sci-fi and watching the Jetsons as a child, I think it encapsulates the idea that known-unknown that is how people will live and work in the near and far future. As a teacher, this interests me for several reasons. The first being that, as technology transforms our society at breakneck speed, this uncertain future is actually quite close. The second being that growing conviction that the way we educate children is not preparing them for this future.

A challenge for educators has always been how to make education as relevant as possible for learners; relevant not only for their future but also for their present. Contending with a society that is being rapidly transformed by technology, education has difficulty maintaining its relevance. I want to avoid cliched generalisations, but there is much truth in the idea that many of the jobs t…

New normal, but was it ever normal?

I’m a late thirty-something, I am a self-employed teacher, writer, lecturer. My working life is made up of temporary and short-term contracts, and most of the work that I do is self-generated. It relies me to be creative, flexible, endlessly innovative, patient and (an introvert’s nightmare) collaborative. We’ve not met, so before you paint a picture for yourself of me as a cross between Andy Warhol and Benjamin Franklin (just imagine the hair), I can also point out that working this way requires me to be happy to make mistakes (a lot, and I’m not usually happy about it), reflective (hello crushing self-doubt) and the rest.

This is becoming increasingly normal for fellow thirty-somethings who might find that description of working routines a familiar one. It is, however, a regime that probably horrifies traditionally-minded, nine to fivers. My mother, for example, probably does not think that the freedom to work in a cafe or in my pyjamas at home is enough of a trade-off for a proper…

BERA blog post on creativity and teacher identity

My first BERA blog post 'Teacher identity in a performative age: Coming to research through autoethnography' was published this week. In this piece I reflect on the themes of my recent MRes which explored the experiences of my teaching career using a personal, reflective research method - autoethnography.

The main question is how can teachers promote creativity - which thrives on risk - in a competitive education that prioritises performance.

The feedback to this post has been really positive. Please access my blog post here: https://www.bera.ac.uk/blog/teacher-identity-in-a-performative-age-coming-to-research-through-autoethnography

Tweeters and twitter: a creativity debate

A few weeks ago, the Twitter algorithm fairy threw a discussion about creativity into my feed. I have a natural aversion to putting my hand into this kind of hornets' nest, but on this occasion I couldn't resist. The discussion that was playing out reflects the evidence that creativity is something teachers care about and see it as a skill to be valued in education, and yet it is still something misunderstood and misappropriated.
It went something like this...
A primary school teacher had posted to Twitter a picture of an art display in her classroom. See a snippet of the picture below. The display showed pictures of birds the children had painted in watercolours and was captioned with a comment to praise her class for their work.

Not so, said Twitter. The birds are all identical: how is this going to develop creativity in children? Wrong, came the counter-argument: children in primary school need to be fluent in skills before they can attempt to be creative. Independent ar…

Green Man movie trailer

In October 2019, I worked with a Year 2 class on a project about the English folk story of the Green Man. If you're not familiar with the story, the Green Man (or Jack in the Green as he is sometimes known) is a mythical creature who nutures the trees and the woods and entices unsuspecting people out of their homes and into the woods. A full suamry of the project will follow but as part of it, the children made a film.

Here is the trailer for Green Man! The full movie is due in December 2019. Watch this space...

Green Man -- Trailer #1


Video project in Cape Town, South Africa

I'm currently in Cape Town working as part of a research project in primary schools in the city. The project is looking at the experiences of new migrant children to school. I'll write more about the project once it's complete but it has been great to act as a consultant supporting the research with advice on visual literacy and film-making.

The project uses The Arrival by Shaun Tan as a way of getting the children involved to share their own experiences. I am also helping the children turn their ideas into a short film. This is the trailer I made with the children based on their idea about telling the story of a new child arriving at their school. All the footage was taken by the children!The finished movie will hopefully be ready soon. Watch this space!