How many people do you know that write for metacognitive purposes? I don’t know that many. How about ones that write for pleasure? Sadly, if I wasn’t connected to a network of amazing bloggers, I may not know any.
As I sit here taking a break from making revisions to my awful report card prose, I’m reflecting on the myriad of ways we turn our students off of writing, in some cases, for life. I’m wondering if it is caused in part by the shear volume of mind-numbingly uncreative, bureaucratic writing teachers are either mandated or implicitly pushed to do. We all know that math classrooms around the world are frequently sabotaged by us teachers bringing our own math anxiety and baggage to the proverbial table. I wonder if it’s the same thing with writing. Why do we always bring our own adult issues with writing into our classroom of writers?
And by writing, I mean writing words into sentences and paragraphs. I’m not talking here about the amazing ‘writing’ we do when we are making infographics, comics, or movies. Few kids are held in at recess to create an Animoto slideshow apology for kicking Timmy in the shins, yet we litter our schools with implicit messages about the torture that is writing beautiful sentences with words. You write when you have to.
If you are an educator in a school or similar organization, I challenge you to, first, look at the ways in which you either model or teach the people you work with to develop an aversion to writing, and second, please stop doing it.
Here’s one place I think we could start. How about providing more time for kids to just write for fun? Write something, share it, and have people respond to it. That’s it. Keep the literal or figurative red pen in the pencil case. Why do we have this double standard in which we acknowledge the need for kids to ‘play’ in almost every other area except writing? When it comes to writing, we micromanage, we scrutinize, we almost interrogate. Even with our move towards assessment for learning frameworks, I feel we are overly obsessed with standardization in writing. Am I just a hopeless romantic here when it comes to the art of prose?
There your go, your rant for the day:)