Friday, April 8, 2011

Publication as Motivation

Question: Does publication motivate students to write?

Answer: Of course it does. But there is a dark side to this idea.

Comment: Been there, done that. Many years ago, as K-12 supervisor of English, I encouraged teachers in our elementary schools to submit their students’ writing for publication. to children’s magazines that had as their purpose encouraging students to publish. Result? A string of rejections. Not only were students’ submissions rejected, their motivation for writing declined because of discouragement. “Buyer Beware” for this particular idea to encourage motivation for writing through publication.

Rejection is part of publication. Read The Writer, a magazine by writers for writers, to realize how much rejection is a natural part of the desire to publish. I’m not saying that publishing should not be encouraged, but help students realize that rejection is one possibility. Stories of professional writers being rejected are commonplace. Prepare students for rejection; help them learn to deal with it. Reading The Writer will provide some ideas by individual writers who have learned to deal with rejection. RayS.

Title: “A Joy to Teach: My Experience with a Student Writer.” Jim Johnston. Voices from the Middle (March 2011), 27-32.

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