One of the challenges that I think we as English teachers experience is the idea that students are writing for our eyes only. This can lead to a variety of issues: students just want to get the work done and therefore don’t edit carefully, they procrastinate as they might not be personally invested in what they are writing about and just doing it because ‘it’s for marks’ and the list goes on.
As a means of trying to think outside the box and have students be accountable for their writing, I have been employing a couple different strategies in my classroom.
1. Blogging: I know this isn’t new, but I have found it actually makes most students think about what they are writing and read it over at least once (which in some cases is more than usually happens) before they upload their posts for the class to see.
2. Peer Commenting: I use Edmodo for my blogging platform and what I’ve found is that students really enjoy replying to a post of a peer and will often offer some food for thought. I’ve observed students reminding each other to be more professional or use more elevated language. It’s awesome because they often pick up on those details in a more timely fashion than I do. In my books, that’s a win!
3. Project Based Learning: (whenever I can) Last year I participated in PLP’s Project Based Writing online course and the best learning that I took away was that I need to be on the hunt for opportunities to provide my students with an authentic audience. In my grade ten English class, we are currently reading To Kill a Mockingbird and when Peter Skillen tweeted a link to Global Dignity Day , I knew it was a natural fit. I created an assignment and shared it with my class today. For the most part, I think my students were excited about the prospect of sharing their work with others and I am hopeful that my hypothesis of providing them with an authentic audience will increase the calibre and quality of their work.