Monday, April 04, 2011

The importance of success in the learning continuum

I'm often in the class teaching writing workshops to students and doing professional inservice for educators. As a teacher and a writer I learned some time ago that some students are built for ballet, and some just aren't. Some students can shoot a ball through a basketball hoop from any position while others have a hard time making a basket from under the hoop.  Some of the students I've taught may become great writers while others have a hard time stringing more than a few sentences together.   While I expect my students to work to the best of their ability, my goals for individual students will be different.  Success for one student might be a polished story.  Success for another might be what I call the talking points for a story (similar to a simplified outline). Classroom teachers can usually help students to improve their writing skills, but let's face it, not everyone is going to be a great writer.  My goals for teaching writing are pretty much the same as my goals for teaching anything...move my students along the learning continuum from where they are to a new place, while celebrating their strengths. The child in this ballet video isn't all that likely to move onto other positions if she fails so miserably in the first. The same goes for writing.

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