Monday, November 23, 2015

Learning About Teaching - Always

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:

A Voice
  • 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).
       That's a quick application of what I'm learning from The Voice. I really really love seeing the faces of those performing (or writing) when they're getting their feedback. 
                               Enjoy a week of thanksgiving, wherever you are. photo credit: IMG_9567 via photopin (license)

30 comments:

  1. WOW! I never thought of teaching writing like that, but this makes so much sense! LOVE this!! I may use this in my coaching with teachers. Thanks Linda! Happy Thanksgiving!!

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    1. Thanks, Michelle, it really is just support of performance, isn't it? Happy Thanksgiving to you, too.

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  2. Isn't it funny how everything we see or do ties back to teaching;) I love your analogies.

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    1. I know, I actually was laughing a little bit. Once a teacher, most everything connects. Thanks!

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  3. I think this is a good essay on how to teach just about anything. Nicely written.

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    1. I agree, Bernadette, I thought of writing in that way, too, but wanted to be more specific this time. Thank you.

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  4. I don't know if I would ever view a TV show with tips or structure for writing. Thanks for offering some new insight and a new lens for my thinking.

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    1. Thanks, Mandy, support and learning is what happens in many places, even TV.

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  5. Very cool. That's what I like about that show. We do see into the process of their support and modeling of coming into the business with great potential. But I'm so hooked on Dancing with the Stars I just can't get engaged with both. Too much! I'm waiting for the last season of American Idol.

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    1. I have liked Dancing With The Stars too, Bonnie, and it's too bad they're competing. Guess we like similar things like that coaching support. Thanks.

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  6. I had never really thought about this before. Interesting parallels here. But all I see are the tears of the ones who are not good enough. Maybe I'm too soft-hearted.

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    1. Yes, it is sad, but perhaps the experience makes them work to improve, and return, which some do. I didn't mention the rejection because I hope that that part doesn't happen in a classroom.

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  7. What a great analogy. I think we as writers continue to go through these stages and I really think this venue is a great way for us to showcase our talents and expand them as well with the help of very knowledgeable mentors.

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    1. I've read all I can about writing and the teaching of it, and writing for my blog with everyone's support keeps me trying harder, I agree. Thank you!

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  8. And to think I almost stopped my commenting after 4. This one resonates with me so much Linda. I adore the Voice and for just the same reason. The coaches do what coaches (and teachers) do best--they praise and make incremental moves towards doing things better, stretching, and focusing. They also get to know each contestant more than just through their work. They meet their moms and visit their hometowns. Getting to know someone changes how you can help them. Thank you for this post.

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    1. I like that later sentence Kimberley, the 'getting to know the contestants in the broader part of their lives', just as we work to know students. Thanks, I'm glad you came by, too.

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  9. I love the connections you made between writing and "The Voice." Isn't it great when we can see the similarities in something that's on TV and something in our classrooms?

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    1. Yes, it is, Stacey. I hope others see how the support of someone just starting out is so important, whether the youngest all the way to the oldest. Thanks.

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  10. What a creative way to look at writing and a TV show format. I have difficult time watching anything where people compete. I usually watch the performances but not the final evaluation. I haven't seen The Voice but have enjoyed So You Think You Can Dance.

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    1. I know it's a competition, yet I also see the individual teaching and then growth that happens with many of these contestants. Even the first ones receive some, and I wish they all could. I think 'So You Think You Can Dance' is similar although I haven't seen it. Thanks, Terje.

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  11. I love The Voice! Honestly, it is the ONLY television show I watch. I am rooting for Barrett! I am missing the results show tonight because Megan has a ballgame. So glad to see one one else is a fan of the show too! I love how you connected the show with writing.

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    1. I had to miss last Tuesday's results Leigh Anne. When we're down to the finalists, it is exciting. Glad you enjoy it, too. Thanks, and Happy Thanksgiving.

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  12. There are so many connections everywhere, and as teachers and writers I think we are prone to see them more easily. Love these!

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    1. Thanks, Donna. I just came from your post-serendipity! Happy Thanksgiving to you!

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  13. What an awesome analogy Linda! I'll never watch the Voice in the same way :-) And thanks Linda for kind words! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

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    1. Thank you, Lynn. It will be fun to watch The Voice in a new way! Happy Thanksgiving to you also.

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  14. I was thinking much like Margaret, and I think a lot of teachers as well as students (at least in my state) feel like they are the rejected singers who didn't quite make the cut. After all these years of teaching, the standards are raised and are different, and in my mind I could be the singer reject as I view the 10 elements of my rubric. While we celebrate the amazing singers/writers, we must find a way to celebrate the small successes of all students and teachers. And that, is sometimes difficult because there are these rubrics and these standards, and we all are not capable of singing the same songs. I can't carry a tune--you wouldn't celebrate my voice. Gosh, you are so optimistic, and I crash it. How can we celebrate the small successes, the simple tunes, the songs we all try to sing? We must find a way to find the music in each singer. That is a challenge.

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    1. Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Maya. I come from a school that has no testing or specific expectations for the students, and sometimes I forget that others cannot just see where the student is, celebrate that, and move forward. I understand where you have the rubrics and must abide by them. Hopefully, no matter where the student is in writing, he or she can be taken at that level and supported. Happy Thanksgiving!

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  15. A wonderful comaprison - and so accurate. Love The Voice as well - my favourite show. And it is the gentleness of their comments, their rapport with each other and the contestants and the fun that gets me every time.

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    1. Thanks, Beverley. I'm glad you see it, too.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!