Conferring With Writers To Grow Accountability

It is often tempting to keep presenting a new skill to student writers each time we confer. Such action is often driven by a desire to provide the writer with as much information as possible, as quickly as possible. However, rushing through a range of strategies cam prove counterproductive as students can become overwhelmed and our teaching loses its effectiveness. If we slow down and teach a few skills well, the learning tends to go deeper. It sticks.

For this reason, it is a good idea to begin a new writing conference by revisiting matters previously covered in earlier conversations. This allows the student to demonstrate how they have addressed matters previously discussed and embeds the strategy more thoroughly in the mind of the developing writer. The student is thus provided with an opportunity to demonstrate how they have applied the strategy in their writing, seek further support and celebrate their success. There is also an implied accountability in this approach.

When we return like this to skills and strategies previously taught, we offer students multiple opportunities for mastering the skill. This increases the likelihood of the skill in focus being adopted as a habit.

For the teacher, following up with previously taught skills and strategies offers the chance to assess the effectiveness of their teaching.

Such an approach holds students accountable for work undertaken in previous writing conferences. The continuing support provided by the teacher enables students to develop increased sophistication with individual skills and this supports the further development of the writer.


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