Writing for human rights

March 22, 2014 @ 8:45 am – 4:00 pm

If you were unable to attend, check out this online story about the forum for teachers.


If newer and older forms of writing are to be mightier than the sword, kids need to learn how to wield these forms effectively. The best writing teachers are those who see themselves as authors.

University of Manitoba language and literacy education professors are hosting a full-day forum for teachers to explore current understandings and practices of writing so they can nurture the potential of children and youth to transform their world.

Keynote speakers Alma Flor Ada and Isabel Campoy wrote the book Authors in the Classroom: A Transformative Education Process.

Organizers Michelle Honeyford and Wayne Serebrin were inspired by the National Writing Project, which has 200 sites across the U.S. co-directed by university faculty and K-12 teachers.

“We would like to be the first site in Canada to establish a similar partnership designed to engage young writers in democratic dialogue around social issues,” Honeyford said.

The forum takes place the day after the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and six months before the opening of Winnipeg’s Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Interactive workshop sessions in the afternoon will include teaching human rights through writing, oral storytelling and digital media and crafting compelling letters to the editor.

Reading instruction has received a lot of attention in recent decades but activist literacy also involves creating opportunities for children and youth to claim their identities and express their visions and experiences through writing in multiple forms, Serebrin said.