Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Writing: Past, Present, and Future

“Practice, practice, practice writing. Writing is a craft that requires acquired skills. You learn by doing, by making mistakes and then seeing where you went wrong.” - Jeffrey A. Carver

I thought this Jeffrey Carver quote was a fitting way to begin this post. Some may find this a surprising concept, and some may disagree entirely, but writing is a complex process. It is difficult, time-consuming, and requires an abundant amount of practice. I am 23…almost 24, and no matter how many papers I’ve been assigned, I still dread the moment when I have to sit down, and write a paper; whether its 1 page or 15! If adults feel this way…imagine how intimidating it must feel for children?

When I look back at my writing experiences while growing up, the fact that I’m an English major continues to surprise me! Writing never came naturally to me. I was continuously reprimanded for my prose; “You write how you speak, it’s too informal!” or, “Your spelling and grammar are horrible! You need to re-write this!” and so on. It wasn’t until the end of my freshman semester, that I developed the ability to adapt my writing style to fit the required writing “mode”. What boggles my mind is this: “Why did it take so long? How come I didn’t develop this ability in ELEMENTARY school?”

I think children need to be introduced to the variances in writing at an early age. Had I been privileged enough to learn and understand the different categories that comprise WRITING while in elementary school, I believe I would have been better prepared, in later grades, to meet my teachers’ lofty expectations. Personally, I’m going to make sure my future students are, at the very least, aware of the different writing categories; such as:

  • Narrative: Describing an experience, event (or sequence of events) in the form of a story.
  • Expository: Providing information (for instance: giving directions.)
  • Persuasive: Giving an opinion and trying to influence the reader's way of thinking.

Hopefully, I can create a nurturing environment that supports children during the writing process; through explicit instruction, one-on-one guidance, modeling, scaffolding, and finally…practice, practice, practice!

1 comment:

  1. As I read this I find myself feeling the same way that you do. I always heard that you are writing the way you would talk. But how can we change this? What are your ideas for implementing the three different types of writing mentioned above? What can we do as teachers in elementary school to help students learn how to write correctly early and not wait and have a light bulb in college? I feel as though literacy is going to be the hardest subject to teach my students.