Notre Dame adds master’s degree in writing

18 October 2017

A new writing course introduced by The University of Notre Dame will equip NSW teachers to deal with major changes set to shake-up the English HSC syllabus next year.

The new Master of Arts (Writing) program will play a key role in answering the professional development needs of English teachers who are seeking to address the challenge posed by the additional creative writing component in the new HSC.

Under the new NSW teaching curriculum it will be mandatory for all Year 12 English students to take a module called the Craft of Writing.

The new module will focus on developing students’ writing abilities with an emphasis on improving their spelling, grammar and vocabulary skills.

“One of the main reasons for the revision of the English curriculum is that students are not leaving high school with adequate writing and grammar skills,” said Associate Professor Camilla Nelson, Head of Media, Writing and Journalism at Notre Dame’s Sydney campus.

“Traditionally, English teachers have been trained in traditional literary theory and historical context-based approaches to texts.

“They haven’t actually been trained in the teaching of writing – which is in fact an entirely different skill – so there is a real need to develop in this area,” she said.

Associate Professor Nelson said Notre Dame’s new Master of Arts (Writing) program aims to “upskill and empower teachers” through studying writing across a range of forms and genres including print, digital and performance-based texts.

The degree will offer a wide variety of subjects including: reading and writing; freelance writing; corporate writing; fiction writing; creative non-fiction; playwriting; advanced screenwriting; and editing and publishing in a digital age.

During the one and a half year course participants will create, critically revise, edit and publish their works in a simulated industry environment under the guidance of professional writers.

“Ultimately we believe this course will provide teachers with the specific skills they need to meet the expectations of the revised English syllabus, while showing them that they can become confident writers themselves,” Associate Professor Nelson said.

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