October 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
Creating, no matter what it is, is a very messy process. It takes great time, effort, and ability to reject and do-over. Often, students think or feel that they are less than outstanding because of this messy process. It does not come easy and can leave students feeling ashamed of themselves. Too many times, the students do not see what other people go through to create something, especially writing.
Writing is an academic essential. It is how we convey our thoughts and feelings. Knowing how to write to persuade others can be astronomical but, as with creating anything, it is a very messy process. It is crucial for children to understand that the process is messy or they will begin to doubt themselves.
During one fantastic lesson at Counterpane’s Lower School, students produced an answer to a question about a book they read. The students, collectively, created their own question. One that was valuable to them. Furthermore, they were not simply tasked with answering the question but also supporting their arguments with examples from the text. The teacher modeled what to do and set the kids free.
It worked perfectly because every student was involved in the writing process directly in front of everyone else. They all knew how messy the process can be and understood that it is part a process. Not a single student lacked confidence or thought they were anything less than what they should be. If a student struggled during this lesson, another stepped in and help. By allowing every student to work openly with one another, each had the opportunity to witness the messy writing process in someone else and realize that they, in fact, were involved in a very difficult process.
This type of comfort is essential to any learning environment. If the student is stressed, frustrated or involved in any negative emotion his or her learning will decrease drastically. Providing such an inclusive environment allows children (and adults) to be comfortable in their own skin which permits meaningful learning to take place.