Teaching Students How to Write

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Experience shapes us, randomness shapes us, the stars and weather, our own accommodations and rebellions, above all, the social order around us.

Adrienne Rich, "Of a Women Born"

My four-year old daughter now has the yearning to learn how to write. She scribbles illegible swirls, which she says is her story about a princess. She prints her name "Olivia" on books, magazines, and on her drawings. When she has a pen or crayon in hand she has an immediate urgency to write her name and where ever there is a flat surface she prints her name incorrectly. When I tell her there are not two "I"s in her name and attempt to show her the correct spelling, she throws her crayon in the air. What is essential and what I must remind myself is that at
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I believe as Jarrett does that we need to address these issues inside the classroom. She asserts that many feminist theorists need to "turn from personal back out to the public." ( 121). Expressionist theorists spend "too little time helping their students learn how to argue about public issues."(121>

Because of the isolation of school from life, it is understandable that students feel apathy toward writing and indifference toward public issues. Lucy McCormick comments on why students do not want to write "After detouring around the authentic, human reasons for writing, we bury the students' urge to write all the more with boxes, kits, and manuals full of synthetic writing stimulants."(4) Students need to write about what is pertinent in their lives and need to be heard. A student who lives is the inner city might not be eager to write about the American family farms, which are ceasing to exist because of the corporate monopolization of farms. That student might be more interested in exploring and writing about the reasons for inner city poverty. Students should also be encouraged to understand realities beyond their backyard, but the task of writing in a high school and freshman college composition class at the start can be made meaningful by letting students write about what directly affects their lives. I contend
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