Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Writing Assignments in School

Question: Do students believe in what they write?

Answer/Quote: “My own students have a lot to say about how little writing in school means to them. In a course on literacy across the curriculum, I ask the students, all of whom are enrolled in the graduate teacher certification program at SUNY-Albany, to write about an important experience involving writing or reading. Not surprisingly, most write about their experiences in school, since school is where most students do most of their writing and reading. These essays are revealing. Semester after semester, they underscore how little meaning school-sponsored writing has had for these students. Vinny, for example, a preservice social studies teacher, wrote that ‘I never took pride in my writing [in school] because most of the time I did not believe in what I was writing about.’” P. 195.

Comment: I’m curious about this comment. Before any writing assignment, on a given topic or on the student’s own topics, I always encouraged students to brainstorm the topic, to find the connection between themselves and the topic. I never had any feeling that the students did not believe in what they were writing. Of course, that’s just my experience and the students might have been faking it.

“Praxis” in the title of the article is defined by Paulo Freire (2005) as “reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it.”  RayS.

Title: “Writing as Praxis.” RP Yagelski. English Education (January 2012), 188-204.

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