Les Perelman wants all of our students to be excellent writers. He shares his knowledge about effective writing teaching and assessment to empower all students and their teachers…
“The people in our society who have power are excellent writers… Writing should be a positive activity where people are expressing themselves, making meaning and gaining pleasure from that… grammar should always be done in context with the student’s writing and what they are doing right.”
When you are thinking about teaching writing focus first on pre-writing, on invention. There are lots of techniques for pre-writing and it is the essential first step. Next, you need to be thinking about the audience, and giving students a real audience, the work needs to be organised with a particular structure and a plan in place, there needs to be opportunity for revision, not just editing but reviewing the whole piece.
The writing should be based on student interest and come from a place that means something to the individual. When we are assessing a student’s writing it needs to be in the context of their work, not an artificial thing done for a mechanical audience but in the moment of the student’s own writing process.
We need to provide students with real situations to write about and we also need to be real ourselves, and open our own writing up to critique. We then create opportunity for peer review, sharing what students have written in a low stakes situation where they can change and improve their work.
Note for listeners: This episode was originally recorded for the JPL Podcast, hence the references to the JPL Podcast throughout.