Tuesday, January 06, 2009

On Demand Writing

“On Demand Writing.” As a part-time writing teacher I have to admit, when I read this phrase, I was a little disconcerted by the idea of writing being expeditious. Actually, it’s not so much the idea, but the need for writing to be expeditious. Once again, I point my finger at the internet. For me, writing still holds its glory as a scholarly art form – for others, not so much. But here’s the deal, writing is becoming important again. I’m excited to see that happening. It’s not the writing of the days of yore, but I definitely see an overall interest in writing skills from my students that I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing before. No kidding.

I stumbled across this blog post in one of my bunny-trail adventures, and it got me thinking about how I can help my students become better, on-demand writers: (The post is by Michael Hebert
, A Few Principles of Writing Instruction -- Taken from “The Writing Teacher: Tips, Techniques, and Strategies for Teaching Writing

“Prepare students for on-demand writing. As many writing assessments require students to write on-demand, time should be set aside for this kind of writing in the classroom. Children must be taught strategies for writing to prompts, or they will falter when asked to do so for assessment purposes. Some teachers may disagree with this on the grounds that teachers should not be driven by assessment, or that this philosophy places writing in a context that is unnatural. However, college admissions essays and job reports are examples of everyday on-demand writing. We must provide our students with experience writing in this context if we expect them to be successful in the everyday writing demands of our society.”

I’m just going to pull this one little part out because I love it: “ . . . this philosophy places writing in a context that is unnatural.” Really? When is writing unnatural? Wouldn’t any situation that required writing be a natural writing situation? Am I missing something?

It is true that most of the writing we do is “on-demand” writing. How are you helping your students be better on-demand writers?

Just thinkin’
Lee Anne

1 comment:

Mitch Weisburgh said...

Thank you for reading The Writing Teacher and for your comments.

We also see an increase in concern for writing, as everyone becomes more aware that writing incorporates many of the higher level competencies we expect of knowledge workers and 21st century citizens.