The Bronx Write Bus: Learning to Write at 25 MPH

By: Dylan Rodgers

One of the biggest struggles in education is stimulating the minds of the students in order to keep them focused on the curriculum.  An excellent way to do this is by taking students on field trips where they can have hands-on experiences with important works of art, culture, history, and technology.  The only problem with field trips is that so much time is spent on the bus ride, that even the most attentive, well-behaved students can become restless causing the teachers to spend their time doing damage control.

Maria Romano, director of the Bronx Writers Center, dreamt up a new way to stimulate and educate students without losing any time in between.  Her brainchild is "The Bronx Write Bus," a weekly summer education program in the Bronx that transports children, ages 12-18, to various cultural places around the five burrows while simultaneously teaching them how to write.  The bus transforms into a mobile classroom where students are given short writing assignments and receive invaluable, one-on-one instruction from a professional writer whose area of expertise coincides with the cultural event of the day.

Yesterday, the New York Times featured an article where the Write Bus students visited the Anne Frank Center in SoHo, the students perused through the displays and listened to the actual account of Sally Frishberg, a 77 year-old Jewish Holocaust survivor.  Her testimony not only put a personal face to the history lesson, it made the lesson tangible.

The Bronx Write Bus not only takes classes on the road, it provides a different kind of student-subject interaction.  With professional help and hands-on experience, students are given opportunities that they may not have gotten otherwise.  To quote a relevant Chinese proverb:

"Tell me and I'll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I'll understand."