So there was surely no thrill of discovery for my teacher, no chance to stretch his abilities. But the best opportunities to teach, surely, involve real songs, and teaching essay writing in a classroom often feels like teaching not quite “real” words. Many classrooms do try to inject a level of public writing into their curricula.
Probably the situation was an embarrassment to both the school and the teacher. And yet many students are unwilling (wisely) to subject their writing to actual public scrutiny. (Perhaps the best solution to this problem — that I know of — is my colleague Erin Elizabeth Smith’s, who sets one of her classes the challenge of raising money for local charities and non-profits.
The readers get the chance to talk; the workshopee is for a brief time the focus of attention.
However, it’s also obvious that a writing workshop can go wrong, badly wrong.
Generally speaking, the workshopee remains silent during the feedback session, merely taking notes on what she hears.
What Is A Creative Writing Workshop
The teacher lets the students lead the session, perhaps picking one person to speak after another, perhaps checking anyone who steps too far out of line — but the students talk the most.You actually have to teach them the skills they need to make the things they will workshop.As a result, the teacher simply doesn’t have time to run full-class workshops for every single student.I know that for myself, writing workshops have been immensely valuable.They have helped me build an imagined reader in my mind.You read your students’ essays, assign a grade, offer feedback, and then the essay disappears, forgotten by all.The essay pretends to speak to real concerns, to a real readership.A workshop offers a writing teacher a solution to the above problem, a middle path.On the one hand, it offers the chance to expose student work to multiple readers, to test the essay’s approach and execution against “actual” reading, not just the teacher’s eye.” The danger, however, is After teaching several workshops where all of the above problems occurred, I now never, ever, ever begin a workshop without setting out my expectations — both before and after.I also use a specific three-part step by step process to guide students through the work of giving useful feedback.