Updated: Jan 19
The Writing Process is, well... a Process!
Students so often think that writing is like adding; You think about it and write the correct answer. Done.
The most valuable thing you can teach your student is that writing is not something we do (like math), it is a process we work through.
Does your student know that you too reread your emails and correct them (you do right? It isn't just me that does not write flawlessly the first time it's laid down?!)
Do you expect that when they write a sentence it will come with a capital and a period, with all the words spelled correctly, and all the punctuation in the proper place?
What is the Process? 1. Prewriting phase: Before you start to write you need some idea of what you are writing about. For a student, this may mean brainstorming a topic, doing some introductory research, and thinking about their ideas. As they pass later into their academic journey it will include a statement of intent, research question ideas, research notes, and an outline!
2. Getting the words on the paper. This means just what it says and nothing more. The words need to be on the paper and hopefully in the correct order. Older students will have written complete sentences and paragraphs.
3. Revision: Read the writing. Does it say what you want it to say? Is there a better order or way to express it? If so then fix that.
4. Editing: This is the mechanical piece: fix spelling, grammar, and punctuation and read it out loud to see if it "sounds" well written (do you repeat words or phrases?)
When your student sees writing as a process and not as a question you answer correctly or incorrectly, they will be free to really explore writing. This will free them from the fear that paralyzes students: the fear of failure!