Our family subscribes to a magazine called WORLD. It leans toward a conservative viewpoint in reporting world affairs, books, music, and movies. In the Feb. 11, 2012 edition there is an article called “Be Specific.” In this article Marvin Olasky says, “Eighty percent of good writing is rewriting, but rewriting in a middle-school or high-school setting means that a teacher must read a first draft and make comments, then read a second draft and make more comments, and on it goes.”
In my opinion, this can happen in a homeschool setting but seldom occurs in public or private systems. Teachers simply don’t have the time to devote this much attention to each student. We have our annual website contest but can dispense only minor comments about a few pages of one submission. Daily lessons are up to the student and the teacher.
In an attempt to improve the writing skills of today’s students, the WORLD News Group has developed a writing curriculum for homeschools and schools. Olasky says, “…Write with WORLD requires students to think and make choices, not just follow a formula…”
Intrigued by the concept, I thought it might be wise to pass this along to our followers.
To read the magazine article and peruse the curriculum follow this link. (http://www.learnwithworld.com/writewithworld/)
I’m not endorsing this curriculum nor am I suggesting it’s the answer to teaching writing. Since my recent post focused on the need to edit and rewrite it caught my attention. This may be a valuable tool for the education package of a budding writer.
A Note and an “Amen” from Lynn:
After judging some outstanding research papers my co-op students produced, one college professor expressed surprise that so many of my students wrote exceptionally well and asked about my teaching methods.
I told him that each student produced a first rough draft by the deadline and had one week to turn in a polished copy after receiving their edits. After I graded their first polished copy, they had the option of accepting that grade or taking another stab at perfection. One student turned in NINE revised copies before she felt she had mastered the research paper assignment to her satisfaction.
“You mean you just give them unlimited chances to get it right?” he asked. By his expression, I gathered he considered this next door to cheating.
I explained to him that in homeschooling, the goal is always mastery through one-on-one tutoring. Teaching, to me, is about “tossing” in such a way that the “ball” can be caught. “When students sign up for my class, I assume it is because they do not know how to write and would like to learn to write proficiently,” I told him. “What credit is it to me if I give them one shot and pronounce them ignorant? That’s why they’re here–to become informed! As long as they’re willing to work, I’m willing to work with them.”
Light dawned, and he admitted that this was a practical perspective. 😉
Writing effectively requires an amazingly complex set of skills. Bringing those together takes time, but everyone can improve their ability to communicate. Take time to encourage your students and build their confidence!