Assume only that we share no
If a student has been placed in the
and is trying and feels a failure, then almost certainly the teacher is
doing something wrong.
In American schools, 92.5% of all
expected not to master a subject.
Collaborative learning INCLUDES THE
is no alternative that is collaborative learning.
Some people ought not to teach
writing (though they
might be good as editors or proofreaders). They don't know that.
SOME PEDAGOGICAL OPPOSITIONS
PROCESS--the whole course
piece of writing is the end for the course
on individual writings or portfolios
SOME TEACHING THINGS I TRY T0 REMEMBER
Be honest. Don't say something is
good unless it
really is. Instead, say what I like best in a piece, and why. If I
don't know the answer, say so-and then try to find out what it is.
Offer a whole course, one that is
an integral part
of the students' whole lives. Not "units" or other separate, discrete
segments or elements. I must find my own true course.
Forget linearity. Students don't
then go on to the next thing. It's all happening at once, all the time.
I try to create a spiral, recursive curriculum.
Generally, ignore errors,
especially small errors.
have trouble with typos, for example, how can I condemn others for
making them. Most errors are auto-correcting. They die from neglect.
Make assignments DEEP, so that everyone can succeed withthem [and so no
one hits bottom in them]
Try to ask only questions that I
don't know the answers
Write assignments down and give everyone a copy.
Nothing oral. Always provide an escape route for those to whom the
assignment is meaningless (such as ". . .or write why you can't do this
Let the students' writings be the
myself out of the way. Keep everything else out of the way, too.
What do writing students need? To
write. So I try
to can my blabber and not keep them from writing.
TWO PEDAGOGIES FOR TEACHING COMPOSITION
1. Based on "tradition" and "common
Negative; works from small to
competitive, judgmental, grades.
2 Based on observation and logic,
Affirmative; whole; recursive,
cooperative-collaborative; no grades.
"Tradition" and "common sense" (in
teachers) are trained responses, not instincts--and therefore obscure
what ought to be plain.
We know now that few students learn
And we know that working from small
spelling, sentence) to larger (paragraph) to large (essay) is exactly
wrong for most students.
We know that competition and
grading do more harm
than good, just as we know that spanking and castigating children do
more harm than good. The research has made all this clear.
But few English teachers are ready
to believe the
Many now know some
"affective domain," "collaborative learning," etc. Danger!
The goal of the course is that
everyone gets to
write well--mastery! Everything derives from that goal.