Slice of Life Story Challenge March 6 -Fostering Brave Writing Efforts
It is natural for teachers to want students writers to make progress. Unfortunately,it occasionally leads them to wrest control of writing away from students. As a result the methods used in some classrooms to teach writing convince the emerging writer that any control over writing lies entirely with the adult teaching it. The teacher latches onto controlling topics like a bulldog latches onto a bone. This need to control has it origin in their own writing history. Their actions are based on what they know about writing. Their teaching over emphasises the surface features of a text. It's about the writing, not the writer. Such approaches don't encourage brave actions on the part of student writers.
Every day I work with young writers I talk about all of us being brave writers. -Writers who are fearless. Writers unafraid of words and ideas. Writers prepared to experiment and explore our thoughts and ideas. We celebrate problems solved and discoveries made in the course of our writing. I share my own writing life, revealing my thinking. If I'm brave, it gives these less experienced writers the confidence to move closer to the edge with their own writing.
Being brave as a student writer means using the word 'fettuccine' rather than 'pasta' because that accurately describes what i was eating. It means a writer using 'plummet' rather than 'fall' to describe what happened to the kite they were holding. It means Victoria, a Grade 1 writer wanting to write 'aquarium' even though she was unsure of how to spell it, yet being brave enough to commit her attempt to paper. We celebrate these brave deeds with gusto!
If we, as teachers of writing encourage students to choose their own topics and genres, identify their audiences and make decisions about what messages they wish to convey, we foster the growth of self confidence -an important ingredient in the emergence of brave and fearless writers.
Brave young writers need brave teachers to support them. Teachers who joyfully share their ownreading and writing lives. I am pleased to report I see a growing army of brave teachers when I work in schools. Teachers are stepping up to he challenge and joining their students on this important learning journey. Their actions are having an impact.
I think about those who have joined the Slice of Life Challenge for the first time this year. They too are risk takers and deserve support and encouragement. Their experience will provide first hand knowledge of the challenges student writers face every day. Wow, what valuable learning.