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How To Help Students To Improve Their Writing Skills?
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(1)Overcoming Challenges: Helping Students Build Authentic Discussion about Writing
Developing authentic talk about writing is a complex process, as it involves bringing together students with different talents, perspectives, and personalities. Many challenges arise along the way, which require different responses from the teacher. I find it helps to be explicit with students, to emphasize the importance of learning how to effectively discuss our writing in order to grow as writers.
(2)Helping Writers Avoid Defensiveness and Listen to Feedback
Some students resist an inquiry stance when sharing their work, instead trying to defend their writing decisions or overly explain Cartier Replica Watches themselves. If they continue in this pattern, they miss opportunities to explore readers' reactions and gain productive feed-back to support meaningful revisions. Thus, in the midst of learning to write and discuss, students also need to learn to listen. To help students practice listening to peer feedback, I sometimes ask the writer to be silent while group members point out favorite parts and interpret/respond/wonder about the piece. I describe this as writers' opportunities to be a "fly on the wall" and get insider information on how others interpret their writing. Writers take notes as group members react and respond, waiting to ask questions and offer clarification until the second half of the discussion.
(3)Helping Writers Envision Leading Authentic Writing Discussions
Students benefit from models of writing group interaction that are not moderated by the teacher. They see how a group of students functions together in an authentic discussion about writing, and they observe how students can facilitate conversations about their own writingâ€”without a teacher intervening. I select a small group of writers whom I have observed having rich writing conversations. I ask them to sit in a visible place in the classroom and discuss a short piece of one member's writing while the rest of the class observes. Before the students start their conversation, I assign specific observation questions to the rest of the class:
1. How does the writer facilitate the discussion of the writing? How does the writer keep the focus on his or her goals and purposes while asking different members for feedback?
2. How does the group use questions? What are some of the questions they ask each other?
3. How does the group use the text itself?
4. Where do members make reference to specific passages? How do they direct each other to specific portions of the text?
5. How does the group involve everyone's voice and thoughts?
6. How does the group spend its time? How Omega Replica does the group find new topics for discussion so participants are using the full time provided for each writer's paper?
Depending on my goals and what I have ob-served as students' needs, I may have the whole class focus on one element, such as the group's use of questions. Or, I may split the class into groups and assign each group a different element to observe. Then students have a chance to discuss what they observed in small groups, and we synthesize these observations as a larger class.
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