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Teaching Writing as a Process … NOT a Product

When reading this article, I could not feel nothing but overwhelmed with joy and satisfaction that this elephant in the room has final been addressed! With writing being apart of history as we know it today, these are still a lot of issues as as educators fail to address, and within this article we definitely do address it. So what this topic we will be looking at in this article is *drum rolls* … The process of writing!

The first topic I would like to drop some discussion on is what I would describe as The Writing Cycle. I want to take step back not just start off by just directly talking about the students but us, their teachers. For too long we have always been too quick to point the at finger at our students and not take a step back at ourselves! As I was reading, I came across an interesting point about a writing cycle for teaches. So it goes like this (in order): Training teachers to teach writing – We use these tools to teach students – Students are usually confused by the instructions – teachers pass on frustration to these students on to the next teacher – the next teacher uses the most likely use the same teaching tools as the previous teachers. What I took away from this little cycle is that not we only do we need to look at the writing process of our students, but the process of how we go about teaching them! For the sake of both me not being able to make or finding a picture similar to this cycle I wanted to put in visuals, I am going to show you a very simplified version of what the teaching writing process SHOULD look like, to an extent (on the left side of this passage).

Another point I would like to address is the way us as English teachers should teach the process of discovery through language. Referring back to my World Englishes course, with America expanding as a melting pot and majority of world adapting English in some part of their lives, people perceptions of English in so many different ways. Of course we as educators want to teacher our students the traditional academic standard of writing, but we first need to come to a common ground.

The next idea to address is instead of teaching finished writing, we need to teach unfinished writing and the glory in its unfinishedness. Yes, this may sound a bit confusing to the average writing teacher. Why should we teach unfinishedness, it that not backwards teaching? We are not literately teaching our students to half effort their writing, but to be okay with not getting your writing done in one swoop. An example I would like to add in is when I do example reading log writings with my students. Our goal when doing this activity in small group is not to help them finish the log in ones sitting, but to get their ideas flowing so that they can finish the rest on their own. I then send the off with a document I created titled My Reading Log Checklist. This is to further show my student what I am looking for in their writing. Even after having small group with my little scholars, I do not just want to send them away with any confusion! Look back at my last post addressing the confusion of writing teachers instructions.

Name:

Date:

My Reading log checklist!

Before I put my reading log in the reading log bin,

Do I have:

Do I have my COMPLETE Heading? Do I have an OPENING sentence? Do I have TEXT EVDIENCE? Do I have a CLOSING sentence? OVERALL (Self Editing)
First & Last nameThe dateThe title of my bookIs my book fiction (Fake) or nonfiction (Real)?The question I am answering Did I restate the question I am answering?Do I have details in my opening sentence? (You should not!) Did I say, “In the book it said” or “According to the text”?Do I have at least 1-2 sentences of text evidence?Does my evidence support my opening sentence? Did I restate the question?Does my closing sound like my opening? Did I follow the direction on my sticky from Ms. P?Do I have punctuations? (. , ! ?)Did I answer the CORRECT question for my type of book?Did I check my log using the rubric

Hi 2nd grade friends! This checklist is to help you check that your log is complete. You all are young writers and are going through the writing process! The writing process is the steps you take to make a good writing and become a good writer. This is another tool to help you!

“He doesn’t test his words by a rule book, but by his life.”

I thought this quote and image would fit perfectly within the scheme of my next topic within this article: The Three Stages of Writing. When reading the article, I decide to look back at my writing process of my Fulbright journey targeting these three strategies.

Three Stages of Writing: Pre-writing (85 % of the writer’s time)

This is the part of the stage where you are gathering all your information, jotting down notes, understanding that there is no for sure idea and what exactly you are writing about. When looking back at my Fulbright writing journey, I had to produce two type of essays for my application process. For the sake of time and space, I will leave the link here to what exactly is a Fulbright … just in case you might be interested in applying one day ( https://us.fulbrightonline.org/ )! You can also refer back to some of my older blogs where I am in the Writing Retreat course that was dedicated into developing my essay. That summer course served as starting ground for my pre-writing.

Three Stages of Writing: Writing (1% of the writers time)

Many would think that the actual writing itself takes a enormous of time, but it actually dose not. After all the research, notes, videos, articles, and whatever else you used to gather all of your information, the writing feels like a breeze. I spent about an entire week of my summer course just doing research on my designated country I desire to do my Fulbright grant year in. It took me one sit down to get the first draft done. That was probably the easiest part of my Fulbright writing!

Three Stages of Writing: Rewriting (14% of writing time)

I can of digress with this percentage number, I would give it a little higher number like 30%. Again referring back to my Fulbright experience, my rewriting stage consisted of the following: 5 different drafts, a month of revision meeting with my Fulbright adviser, 4 different meetings with my school’s Writing Center, a couple of headache and tears, just to get th final efforts of finishing these essays. In total, it took me a 5 months to finish the two essays. Every essay varies on the type of writing process you take but it still sums up the generate Three Stages of Writing.

To end my little rant on this article, I would like to leave you with a few bullet points of ideas to consider:

  • How do you get a student do this process? (Three Stages of Writing)
    • Shut up and let them do it, instead of hearing it!
    • Be patient, it is called a process for a reason.
    • Respect our students as writers of the process. We are coaches and encourages!

Bad Ideas About Writing: Failure is Not an Option

Failure (noun): an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success:His effort ended in failure. The campaign was a failure.

This is the standard definition of failure when looked at on https://www.dictionary.com/browse/failure?s=ts. Within this article I would like to explore on a different perspective such as on an dominate cultural narrative: Failure = weakness laziness, and stupidity. Instead of shaming our students, or our own failures, lets rejoice and welcome all failures in every shape and form!

I want to first start off by giving use a few bullet point on the history of failure from the article:

The History of Failure

  • Mid – 19th Century
    • To fail in reading and writing is meant as a failure of moral fortitude.
  • No Child Left Behind Act: We are so desperate to make sure all of our students to feel belonged that we are sending them under prepared for the next grade. In the 7th grade this act began to take place and made me question should I even try anymore if they are just letting anyone move on to the next grade!
  • Innovations discovered by accident: Post it notes (I love these things!).

Another worthy topic I found interesting in the article is the claim that ‘It takes years – decades, probably of repeated writing failure to get the hang of the technique.” It took me years to realize that writing in notebooks works best for me when doing my initial writing. Unfortunately, I learned and acquired this skill on my own without any guidance, which is a major issue for our student writers. We put so much pressure not to fail that they end up being entirely scared to write, building that mental wall of: I HATE WRITING!

So again, because I am a fan of bullet points (I believe it is an easy way of getting points across without lengthy paragraphs) here are someone worthy topics that came across while I was reading this article.

  • People are afraid to write due to failure.
    • I hate writing, its not fun!
  • Even the grates are failures!
    • So how do we expect our students to not accept failure? We are being Hippocrates people!
  • Writing scholars do not use the word failure, but we should!
    • When was the last time you wrote paper without tossing your entire ideas away?
  • Failure is apart of the process! Just don’t dwell on it.
    • As I would like to stress, its apart of the process, not something to stay stuck in.
  • Manu Kapur: Are brains are actually wired for failure.
    • Its in our wiring, we not built to be perfect

Bad Ideas About Writing: Writer’s Block Just Happens to People

This mental block that we all place on ourselves, whether we want to or not, is what keeps us from the world of creativity we wish to thrive in. Unfortunately, be both an artist of both the liberal and visual arts I know this feeling all to well. Most recently I have been have been experiencing both a writing and art block, hence why I am still writing this blog at 12:32 am on a Monday morning. I took the time to write out all my notes for my assigned reading well before I needed start the block. I began to question my own intelligence and my status of grad students. But I then was reminded from the article that Jacotot believed that everyone – regardless of cultural hierarchy – had the capacity for equal intelligence. I decided to take a break from the world of academia and pick up my pencil and sketch pad. After doing a couple of sketches, I finally became inspired to approach my laptop! One can facilitate writing by embracing the blank page.

Bad Ideas About Writing: Rubrics Oversimplify The Writing Process

  • We have to stick together as educators!
    • Speak up
    • Give advice
  • Students can benefit from a rubric when discussed in advanced
    • Refer back to the beginning of my blog where I introduce My Reading Log Checklist
  • A rubric is also apart of the writing process
    • This would fit into the category of rewriting stage
  • Get students involved in the learning process

Author:

Educator|Mentor|Artist|Aspiring Traveler|Student "Make a difference about something other than yourself." - Toni Morrison "Be the person you needed growing up."

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