Understanding Writers With Output Issues

Kid blamers exist in most schools. They rationalize the events in their classrooms by informing everyone that certain students are lazy, unmotivated, disengaged. While that may be the individual's perception, the critical question that begs answering is ‘why?’
If a student appears reluctant to write, to read, to participate in general classroom activities- that needs to be explored. It may be an issue external to the classroom, It may also be an issue related to the classroom or teaching style. Either way, to simply blame the student falls well short of professional responsibility.
This issue of output failure is explored in “The Myth of Laziness by Mel Levine. Levine argues the desire to be productive is universal but that drive can be frustrated by dysfunction that inhibits optimal output or productivity.
Levine explains that difficulties associated with writing are far and away the most telling sign of output failure during childhood and teenage years. Output failure results in serious difficulties in getting thoughts down on paper, trouble doing projects, completing homework tasks or making oral presentations and writing in general.
Writing, says Levine requires the co-ordination and integration of so many different neurological and academic functions.
It requires the writer to generate good ideas, organize thoughts, encode ideas into clear language, remember many things at (spelling, punctuation, facts and instructions), co-ordinate your fingers to keyboard or form letters, plan and monitor the quality of your work, marshal your materials (pencils, references, or computer) and your time. That alone makes writing a most complex task.
Writing also requires a deal of concentration and mental effort. Writing requires energy, focus and a level of tenacity. All these demands must then be synchronised to achieve writing success.
Levine argues that writing is the largest orchestra a child’s mind has to conduct. The fact that writing is so complex a task justifies its leading role in a curriculum.
By writing, students learn how to mesh multiple brain functions and ultimately that’s something you need to do efficiently. Writing helps to build and maintain brain pathways that connect functions such as language, memory and motor control. So writing assists the students to practice being organized and effective.

Writing also serves as a platform for systematic thinking and problem solving. Students who work with teachers who demand minimal writing are educationally deprived. They may be less prepared to produce when they attain adult hood.
Levine also writes in defence of the reading- writing connection. ‘Reading and writing are like siblings. But there’s no sibling rivalry. They are intimate collaborators. Active reading supplies language, ideas and structure you can use when you write. Reading fosters literacy and literacy enriches writing. Students who don’t, won’t or can’t read are more apt to resist writing.
When a child writes many of the brains assembly lines spring into action. Written output actually strengthens memory, language, attention to detail, problem solving and other powerful brain functions- are forced to work together. Therefore, as teachers of writing we can justify a vigorous campaign aimed at enabling students to write easily, and confidently.


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