Sunday, March 20, 2005

Teaching Writing

Patricia T. O'Conner's book Words Fail Me is an excellent work on the craft of writing. She starts out with a criticism of schools in her introduction.

Computers haven't made us bad writers. We write badly because we don't know how. For many years, our schools have done a rotten job of teaching writing. Asking students to write without showing them how is like expecting them to drive before they've had a lesson.

Her criticism is a gross generalization and worthy of debate, however it got me thinking about our instructional focus of writing. The point of having an instructional focus is that we become experts at teaching something - in our case - writing. I think we can all agree that we have not yet achieved that status. Our students will reap great rewards as we gain new insights in our role as teachers of writers and maybe, just maybe,someone will write a book in the near future about the renaissance of excellent writers coming from our schools.

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