A well-known poet will make a visit to four north Suffolk schools next week as part of a project looking at how social media has replaced face-to-face communication — and ultimately isolation and even bullying.
The project ties in with work being done in Anti-Bullying week and is aimed at Year 5 and 6 pupils at Wilby, Fressingfield and Bedfield Primary schools and Year 7 students at Stradbroke High School.
The collaboration will see David Mason, a poet of 20 years who has written 25 books, lead drama and writing workshops for pupils and staff, which will see the children producing their own performance poetry.
Mr Mason, also a specialist English and creative consultant, said a recent newspaper report claimed children as young as four years old were spending more than four-and-a-half hours a day looking at a screen.
“The project is on communication and it came about because of this exact problem,” he said.
“While children were fine when it comes to typing out a message to a mate 100m around the corner, they were not used to talking to people face-to-face and it is an increasing problem with children.
While children were fine when it comes to typing out a message to a mate 100m around the corner, they were not used to talking to people face-to-face and it is an increasing problem with childrenDavid Mason, poet
“I am very much looking forward to working with theses kids and if this is successful there is no reason why this project should not go nationwide as I have done work all around the country.”
Wilby Primary School headteacher Roisin Wiseman, who helped devise the project with Mr Mason said: “This is a wonderful opportunity to explore a contentious and very current issue.
“David is incredibly talented at using drama to enable children to explore a range of issues.
“Performance poetry is a powerful medium to utilise and I am sure that the children will gain from this experience on many levels including development of confidence, self-awareness and understanding of the issues associated with communication in the modern world.
“Not only this but I know that the project will encourage school-to-school an cross phase working which will in turn enrich our children’s educational experience on many levels.
A free performance, of the children’s and Mr Mason’s work, will take place on Friday, November 25 at 6.30pm at Stradbroke High School.
For more on Mr Mason and his work, visit www.inspiretowrite.co.uk