Annual MFA Anthology, Writings…, Goes to Print, Launch Scheduled

Cover by Hannes Pasqualini, www.papernoise.net

Cover by Hannes Pasqualini, http://www.papernoise.net

 

We are excited to announce that the annual Kingston University MFA anthology, Writings…, goes to print this week. The official launch will be next week and we hope you’ll join us for a reading, drinks and a celebration of the achievements of all out MFAs. This event is free and open to the public so please join our Facebook event and invite your friends. You’ll even get a free copy of the publication!

 

 

Writings… Launch

Thursday, 30 May 2013

7pm

Waggon & Horses Pub

Surbiton, KT6 4TW

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The Problem with International Student Visas

Amy Suiter is an American student in her second year of the MFA. She spends her time writing a novel, juggling the PG Cert and a part-time job, and trying to cut down to two cups of coffee per day. She occasionally finds time for random musings on her blog, A Minnesota Yankee. Today, she explains the visa difficulties that international students face and considers the effect this situation has on UK higher education.

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Of all the issues I have battled as an international student – adjusting to a new culture, shopping, weather, and finances – none has caused me more stress and anxiety than my ongoing need for a visa. Even working out my exorbitant fees as an overseas student does not compare to the energy and effort I have had to expend to live and work in the United Kingdom legally.

This, I believe, is a horrible shame.

International students have been said to bring along their own set of issues, three in particular: ‘Socio-cultural adjustment…Language…[and] Learning/teaching problems due to “culture”’ (Biggs, 2003, pp.121-122). Despite these issues, I believe studying abroad should be encouraged across the globe, both to develop the lives and minds of the students, but also to inspire growth and new ideas in teachers.

Anything that adds to the difficulties that are already ubiquitous amongst foreign students is foolish. While it may not be the fault of any particular university that many countries present rigorous visa applications, something may still be done to lessen the burden. My course leader has offered to write a letter to the UK Border Agency, for example. He is an American legal resident of the UK, and faced none of these problems when he originally came into this country.

International students bring in revenue. We are charged twice as much for our fees on average, sending hundreds of thousands of dollars into the coffers of universities each year. Losing overseas students due to impossible visa regulations is a mistake that universities can ill afford.

Teachers and staff would do well to take a stand against making life any more difficult for international students. The development of their own minds and teaching methods, as well as the cultural scope of the next generation, may depend on it.

References

Biggs, J. (2003) Teaching for Quality Learning at University. 2nd Edition. Maidenhead, Berkshire: Open University Press.

An Open Letter to Stanislavski

Amy Suiter is an American student in her second year of the MFA. She spends her time writing a novel, juggling the PG Cert and a part-time job, and trying to cut down to two cups of coffee per day. She occasionally finds time for random musings on her blog, A Minnesota Yankee. Today she considers whether and how she can apply her dramatic studies to teaching creative writing.

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An open letter to Konstantin Stanislavski, after using his sense memory acting technique to teach fellow students how to write sensory character descriptions:

Well, Mr Stanislavski, my idea was a bit daring. Can I really use an acting method to teach people a new way of writing? Even more, can I teach this to people who have little to no experience writing?

Yes, in fact. I believe I can. With careful preparation and enthusiasm, I feel that I succeeded. The session started off quite well with genuine interest from the students. I introduced my idea and learning outcome: that they should be able to write a sensory description of infatuation by the end of the lesson. I proceeded straight into an activity, asking them to recall a time when they were infatuated with someone.

This is where I believe I made an error, as I then called out examples for them rather than letting the students come up with their own first. The Teaching Center (2009) warns specifically against this: ‘Do not give in to the temptation to answer your own questions, which will condition students to hesitate before answering.’ While my over-eagerness may have limited the number of responses, they still had plenty of ideas of their own.

After explaining the idea of putting oneself in the character’s circumstances, the class was asked to write the reaction of a character to a specific circumstance, using guided hand-outs I had prepared. I intentionally avoided Power Point slides as I did not feel they were necessary with the time constraints, although student feedback suggested it would have been beneficial to include the quotes I delivered as a visual aid. After all, who would not want to read your great words, Mr Stanislavski?

Overall, however, I felt it was an invaluable experience on my road to becoming a teacher, and saw from the student feedback that it was an enjoyable lesson for them as well.

References

The Teaching Center: Washington University in St. Louis. (2009) Increasing Student Participation. Available at: http://teachingcenter.wustl.edu/increasing-student-participation. (Accessed: 6 November 2012).

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