Teaching Writing

Letter To Murray

Dear Murray,

Wow! Your writings really speak to me in terms of how you view writing and how important the process is to a successful writing. Promoting students to experiment with their writing until they get into their groove of writing allows for mistakes to be made earlier on, which permits more time for further student development in writing.

One question I would have for you is in regards to testing students on writing – if we did not provide the prompts for writing that is noted to be what you considers “outside” the student, then what kinds of prompts would she recommend students write on? Personal battles? Family relationships? Individual passions? One that I think could be interesting that jumped into my brain as I was mulling over this idea myself was a prompt that was the same for all students, but allowed for creativity as well. I have seen the typical “you are planning a party” prompt that is all too common, but what if we allowed students with a prompt that was somewhere along the lines of “You are given an unlimited amount of money to start your own business – think of your passions – what kind of business would you run? would you provide services? make products? what would they look like? would your business be involved in a charity? tell me all about how you would turn your favorite things into a business” – now maybe this is just my entrepreneurial side coming to surface, but I think giving kids the opportunity to think about what it is they get excited about but prompting them to apply it logically is a skill that we should be teaching in classrooms along with structuring sentences (psst.. speaking of grammer, ignore that crazy run-on because my brain was rambling). What do you think about my proposal? What are some errors or blindspots that I am missing? Young, potential-teacher here – I promise you won’t hurt my feelings with a little honesty.

As I have occasionally studied your works in other pedagogy classes, I knew that your article would be one of my favorites (don’t tell the other theorists)!

Thanks for taking the time to read this letter!




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