A Dash of Inspiration For Young Writers
Student writers will never be motivated to write if they are simply told to write more. Imploring them to be passionate as writers, or insisting they add more detail to their pieces. Merely hanging charts on the classroom walls and hoping kids notice them, wont do it either. It is difficult to teach writing from a safe distance.
It is critically important to be involved; to understand both the challenge and joy that writing brings. Writing is a problem solving process. Developing writers need someone who can work with them, to show them how rather than tell them what to write.
To ignite a genuine desire to write within students requires the establishment of a writing community. This community must be seen as a collaborative venture and students must be warmly invited to join. Teacher and students must join together in undertaking a learning journey that aims to develop the capacity and confidence of every writer within that community.
When trust builds among student writers and their teachers, it will in turn grow the voices of students, inspire deeper thought and more informed opinions. It will move students closer towards writing that is more authentic and honest. The writing produced in the student's notebooks will be demonstrably less fearful and 'safe.' Young writers will increasingly make informed decisions regarding the shape and form of their writing projects.
Having inspired and committed student writers requires the brave presence and unstinting example of a teacher willing to nudge student writers closer to knowing more deeply what it means to be someone who finds intrinsic reward in choosing to write.
It requires a teacher to be brave enough to be an action figure whose commitment to both reading and writing has a physical presence in the classroom. What a teacher values is soon apparent to the impressionable learner. It determines what will be followed.
A recipe approach to teaching writing could never hope to achieve such outcomes. You must bring some passion with you. Teaching writing requires you to possess some knowledge of how writing works. They must bring writing experience to the classroom.
I recently read this quote attributed to Ruth Ayres which sums up the teaching challenge most succinctly.
'Writing workshop is not just about getting the instruction right...it’s about getting the heart right.'
Ruth Ayres, Enticing Hard-To-Reach Writers.