We all know this to be true. And I'm going to be even more specific - Teachers who love teaching writing, teach children to love writing. The enthusiasm that a writing teacher brings to her instruction infuses the students' learning with equal parts of zeal and initiative. I was recently reminded of how important a writing teacher's attitude about what she's teaching is to the reception of the learning by her students.
Two Approaches to Writing Instruction
A Positive, Committed Approach to Instruction grows students who will work their hardest to meet your expectations.
- When your differentiated instruction continually makes a bee-line for what's great in their writing, students will be encouraged to keep working, to keep reaching for precise language, organized structures, fully developed ideas, etc.
- When your Think-Alouds expose the struggles and challenges of writing, but you maintain excitement in your voice as you model your own writing process, students will notice and absorb the "I Can Do This" belief that you demonstrate.
- When your instruction lifts the level of all of the writing in the room, no matter the starting point, students will benefit from the teaching that nudges them forward, and the work they do will show progress and growth.
- When you celebrate all writers at every level you help build self-confidence, and you absolutely add joy to the whole writing process!
A Less-Than-Enthusiastic Approach to Instruction grows students who don't feel the energy of the teaching and, thus, may lack energy for their own writing work.
- When students don't see teachers push through the hard thinking parts of composition, they often want to give up too quickly when faced with their own writing blocks.
- When the teacher doesn't model the importance of stamina or value the idea that writers need lots and lots of time with one piece of writing, students miss golden opportunities to discover deeper thinking and mine richer ideas.
- When teachers teach writing in isolation, not connected to the reader for whom the message is intended, students cannot learn to think purposefully, to make thoughtful decisions that help an authentic audience hear their voices and understand their stories.
- When teachers don't embed the thinking habits of mind in their writing instruction, students aren't able to internalize those habits in ways that are transferrable to future writing experiences.
I have seen both types of instructional approaches in writing classrooms. My work centers around supporting a positive instructional approach and bringing every tool in my coaching toolbox to help teachers embrace and adopt that approach. My hope is that -
- More and more teachers will be provided with the time and professional resources they need to implement a positive, committed approach to writing instruction.
- They will be surrounded by teachers (and coaches and administrators) who are passionate about writing and share that passion with students in ways that don't just seep into their teaching but open the flood gates of positive, joyous instruction.
- Their student writers will feel that joy and make it their own.
Have a great writing week!