My Teaching Philosophy on Writing
There were many aspects that I thought about when trying to hone my philosophy of teaching writing. After some deliberation, I was able to narrow my ideas down into four different aspects. My four aspects of teaching writing that I value the most are personal relationships, student choice, providing resources, and preparing for the future. How did I come up with these aspects? I looked back at my own experience when it came to writing. The past was pulled to combine with the future. The things (ideas, aspects, strategies) that worked for me as a student when it came to writing were essential to include in my philosophy of teaching writing as well as the outcomes that I want each of my students to receive.
Most importantly, I strive to have personal relationships with my students. It is always a goal of mine to make sure that my students are aware that I am there for them. One way that I accomplish this is by using modeling, the term coined by Gallagher. I do this in order to show my process with writing and to make it clear to my students that not everything is perfect on the first try. Not only do they benefit from seeing my writing process, but this use of modeling allows a certain kind of conversation between myself and my students. They do not view me as just a teacher, but someone who may struggle with the same things that they do and someone who they can talk to about the issues that they are having. Another way that I accomplish creating personal relationships with my students is by using gradual release of responsibility that Fisher and Frey have described in their writings. This allows there to be a bond of trust made between my students and myself. The gradual release of responsibility allows students to still see me as their teacher, yet with certain projects, assignments, and activities, they are able to experience more responsibility and learn how to manage it. This aids in creating personal relationships with my students because they will feel my trust that I have for them when it comes to certain tasks in the classroom.
Secondly, I highly value student choice. By giving students a choice when it comes to writing, more creativity is likely to happen. Students will write about certain topics that they do not necessarily like, but the quality of their writing will be diminished. Giving my students a choice when it comes to certain assignments allow for both myself and my students to see what they can do. For certain genres, I keep the conventions the same to provide the students with structure, but the topic of which they choose to write about is completely up to them. My goal is for students to understand the genres of writing and the conventions that go along with all of the types, but at the same time being able to explore their creative side and see what they can come up with. According to Tchudi and Tchudi, this process can be labeled as extending the dimensions of literacy and is something every teacher should try and implement into their classrooms.
As a teacher, I believe in providing resources for my students. If students do not have access to resources, how will they learn? This is something that I put a great emphasis on. Providing resources is essential when it comes to teaching writing. For my students, I provide a personal library in the corner of the room that is available to all of my students. The library is a collection of books that I have gathered over the years and that are all different types of writing which are used as examples, guidance, and overall enjoyment. This gives students exposure to writing, whether they are aware of it or not. Not only are the books I have provided for my students a resource, but I am a resource myself. My library full of books are used as mentor texts, like it has been suggested by Gallagher, while at the same time, my own work and the process that it takes me to complete a writing are used as mentor texts as well. This goes hand in hand with creating personal relationships with my students. If my students understand that I am approachable and there to further their education and future, they are more willing to come to me with questions and/or guidance.
Lastly, my overall goal is to help prepare my students for their futures. It is my goal to have my students recognize their own potential and to help them further it as they go through their education and onto their career. In order to help my students accomplish this, I use gradual release of responsibility (once again done by Fisher and Frey) and the use of formal writings. The use of gradual release of responsibility helps my students work on their independence with writing and in general. My students receive guidance when it comes to writing, but they also learn the importance of working independently. The use of formal writings helps prepare my students for professional writing. I include assignments that explore the writing types of letters, interview essays, and professional emails. By doing this, I am helping my students become prepared for the professional writing world and for real audiences. This real-world writing was brought to my attention after reading the work of Wiggins and is something that I have deemed as important to do for all of my students.
When it comes to teaching writing, I want my students to feel accomplished and ready to continue taking on writing as they progress through their lives. To have this become a reality, I use personal relationships, student choice, providing resources, and preparing for the future. My time with my students may only be a small section that they remember in the long run, but what I can do with my time is important and essential to helping the students grow in their writing abilities.