I'm slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community today, and it's always good to read what everyone shares. Thank you Stacey, Tara, Anna, Betsy, Dana, Kathleen, Beth, and Deb.
When I watch television, it's not often, but I am rather crazy about The Voice. I know that so much is scripted, and so much surrounds the contestants that much could be staged. But if it is, it still seems to be a great model for supporting students' writing in the classroom. Here's how I "see" it:
- Students actually do audition to see if they are 'good enough', don't they? and when the teacher smiles, says 'yes' and 'okay' or 'nice work' (in response to their writing), it's like admission into some circle, being included.
- Practice helps, but I notice that there is support and praise for what the singers (writers) do well at the very beginning.
- When some show talent in one area (fiction or non-fiction reporting), the advice I hear given is to stretch into other areas, perhaps a country singer moves into bluegrass (moving into poetry or memoir, or complex sentencing). And, they receive support, a few pointers for how-to or change, then allow the singer to take off alone (respecting that the writer knows something of his or her own style). It's time to stand back and let the singer (writer) do their thing!
- After performing (finishing a written piece), even in the early stages, gentle critiques are offered (conferring), and the expectation, a boost to a feeling of growth, is that change will occur.
- Also after performing, high praise is given, but specific to that performance (I like that, here is where the image works, etc.). I love seeing the performers beam and smile and beam some more (Writers will do that, too).
- I also suspect that these performers have used many, many mentor songs that help them learn, and the professionals sometimes talk about someone else's way of singing a song. (Just as we hope that writers read, then read some more, and notice what's good, we also point out examples and/or explain how 'what's good' works).