In my teaching, reflection is important to me. Not on purpose, really, but as part of my nature. I mull over things. I wonder out loud and silently. I talk with colleagues. I also participate in a Good2Great Voxer chat.
Good2Great teachers are continuously reflecting. We are always engaging in conversations about our teaching practice. One evening last week, Trevor Bryan and I got into a conversation about the writing process. He made me think when he said, “The writing process is a creative process, and in the creative process, artists and writers are always making bad work. Something that doesn’t work is part of the creative process.”
My burning question was born from this conversation. “How do we honor the process of writing?”
Blogging is a huge part of the writing process in my classroom. I’ve contended that by writing every day on a blog, my students’ writing grows and improves. I still believe that, but I’m not sure I honor the mulling, the brainstorming, the idea gathering. I have stressed to my students that they are writing for an audience.
Jacob decided to write about the movie Moana for his Slice. When I read his post, he was telling the story of the movie…the whole movie. He said, “This is only one third of the movie. I can make more posts.”
Of course he could, but would anyone want to read multiple long posts retelling the Moana story? I posed that question to him and immediately felt a pang in my gut. I wasn’t honoring the process. I was thinking only of the product. I realized that maybe by writing this whole story, Jacob would learn about writing dialogue. He would learn about a story arc. And he wasn’t writing from a book he read. He was writing from a movie he watched. He would have to create the actions with his words.
How often do we stifle our young writers? I know they need to practice. They need to write often. But who am I to tell them they must produce a worthy product every time? As a writer, do I? Not at all.
Sometimes students do not need to write for an audience. I will continue to reflect on this question and watch myself more carefully. Honoring the process is as important, if not more important, that celebrating the product.
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