Writing is difficult, but teaching writing is more laborious. Just the idea of bringing young students into a level of competence where they could string sentences together and make some sense out of it is already a huge task. Nonetheless, it’s a fulfilling job. The good news is that there are effective practices already for this. Consider some of these tried-and-tested principles for teaching the art of writing:
Create a positive atmosphere
This is foundational. Still, a lot of teachers tend to overlook this because it’s something that’s so subtle. However, a positive atmosphere is key to learning better. In a lot of instances, students refuse to write or participate in class because their identity dictates that they can’t do it. It’s your job to break those barriers and create a welcoming atmosphere. There are two ways to do this. The first one is being intentional in your classroom design. Arrange your furniture and room layout in such a way that encourages kids to write together. When students interact with each other by creating a story as a class out of a writing prompt, they can build rapport with one another. The second strategy is socio-psychological: set a good example. When your students see that you treat everybody with respect, they’re more likely to do the same.
Give them a purpose for writing
Kids quickly lose interest in writing because they forget why they’re doing it in the first place. This is why it’s crucial always to remind them of the rationale behind your writing tasks. More importantly, you have to let them see that what they write has an actual impact on the real world and not just a simple classroom activity. With that in mind, let them write about their own experiences and interests. It doesn’t matter if their ideas are out-of-this-world, like love stories of talking vegetables or pink dinosaurs. Sooner or later, they’ll realize how enriching writing is for themselves and others. Publish their works. They can own their stories wholeheartedly when they see their writing in public. Invest in software solutions that let students write a book online for free. Display the ard copies in your classroom and give your students a higher purpose for writing.
Prioritize warm-up exercises
For sure, you’re well aware that seasoned writers are not always in the zone. Young writers are no different. That’s why they need warm-up exercises. Before you give out writing tasks, prep them up with a three-minute freewriting session, an icebreaker, or a picture prompt. You can also give them short stories or essays to read at home before class ends so that when you start the next day, it can be your jump-off point for a discussion, revving up the brain for action. Divide them into smaller groups or assign a partner so that everyone gets to share their insights about what they read. The bottom line is that before delving into your writing sessions, consider warm-up exercises.
Instilling the skill and discipline of writing among young students is a difficult task. Nonetheless, it’s one that can give you so much joy. Adopt these best practices in teaching young writers.