better 201

Understand the Student

This week we read four articles and of the four I found the article by Shelley Reid, “Teaching Writing Teachers Writing” a bit more interesting than the rest. Reid mentions that in order to teach writing difficulty the teachers need to participate in it as well. Teachers need to walk a day in the shoes of their students, so to speak. Experience what they experience so that there could be a deep level of understanding the difficulties the student goes through. “Teachers who experience writing difficulty not only connect emotionally to their students, something they might do after writing what their students write, but they gain clarity about how students learn to write better.” (Reid, pg. 201). By teaching writing teachers in this way then they will be able to teach their students to perform at a higher level. The increase of the writing difficulty helps the students but we must not only focus on that. “If we are to productively increase writing difficulty and exploration, we need also to design assignments to help students participate in critical reflection.” (Reid, pg. 211). I have had teachers in the past that would assign essay after essay with little to no time in between to question as to why our writing style was “wrong.” I guess the teacher expected for us to improve by continually making us write essays and not spending time on reflecting on what we turned in. I have also known, from friends, of teachers who assign two essays during the whole school year because most of the time was spent on the reflection aspect. My niece’s English teacher, on the other hand, assigned a reflective essay at the beginning of the school year and when she returned the essays back to the students she took the time to have them revise their work sentence by sentence. It surprisingly did not take as long and by the end of the month or so the essay was “well written.” There has to be a balance with the difficulty of the assignments and the time the students have o reflect on them. By teaching writing teachers how to do so then they can show their students. Going back to what I stated at the beginning, we as teachers must place ourselves in the students shoes and think whether or not the teaching method I am using is beneficial. That way we can decide whether we are challenging the students and if they are understanding why they received a certain grade.