“…in many writing classrooms, students are learning to write by not being allowed to do any of the things “real” writers do: make choices.”
The experience of writing a novel together didn’t inhibit individual creativity – it made them all want to go home and write more on their own.
I tell them that just as a good standup comedian can read out of the phone book and make it funny, a good writer can take a dull topic and make it interesting.
We often give them common prompts, or common texts sets with common prompts. We give them common pieces of literature to write about. So why not a common experience?
It’s good for us as writing teachers to try our hand at some form of writing on a regular basis. It can teach you a lot. I think we English teachers sometimes have an urge to make our student writers perfect writers… RIGHT NOW. We sometimes feel that too many errors mean they can’t write. […]
…these students had a very, very limited idea of what writing was.
In fact, students often think of writing as an act of compliance – follow the teacher’s instruction, receive a passing grade.
I find many of of my students have seldom, if ever, been allowed to choose and focus their own topics. They have been, as I often say, “prompted to death.” Yet the work of choosing and focusing a topic are essential writing moves – perhaps the most important writing moves of all, because they involve […]