Overcoming Obstacles to Good Writing Instruction
We know that teachers face so many obstacles in their classrooms every day:
- Student Behavior
- Lack of time, support, and resources
When it comes to writing instruction, it seems like those issues are magnified. Even for ELA teachers, it can be a struggle to include meaningful writing instruction.
First things first. When do teachers have time to teach writing? It should be introduced, explained with examples, and modeled, but, with everything else that must be covered in the curriculum, where does this fit?
Incorporating writing into any lesson does take some time and planning, but it is possible. If this is new to you or you don’t feel confident, start small! At the end of a lesson, ask your students to respond to something they’ve done. Just a quick reflection will get them putting pencil to paper. Do this for a few days, asking different questions, and as you (and they) get comfortable with it, you can start building more writing into your lessons.
The same goes for teaching writing. Start with one or two skills and build up from there. Knowing your students will play a big part in this as well. Teaching them what they need will keep them engaged and challenge them. These lessons and activities don’t have to take up too much time. A lot can be accomplished in ten minutes.
Even if teachers find time to squeeze in a mini-lesson and a quick activity, will they have time to really look at their students’ writing and give feedback that will help their students improve their skills?
Starting small and simple is key in building endurance for both you and your students. Keeping your focus on one or two skills at a time will save you from burning out on grading. As difficult as it may be, when your students are working on strong introductions and conclusions, try to ignore the grammar mistakes and focus on the content. This will cut down on the time that you spend on each student’s work.
Another idea to give students feedback without overwhelming you is to make time and space for peer review. Students can often read and understand their peers on the same level and see things that you may not. This will of course require some modeling and practice to get students beyond the “This is good” type of feedback, but it would be worth it in the end if students are excelling, and you’re not swamped with essays to read.
In some cases, time isn’t as much of an issue is as the teacher’s lack of knowledge or confidence in writing instruction. Not all teacher-prep programs supply their students with adequate instruction, practice, or resources in the teaching of writing. What then?
That’s where MI Write comes in handy. Built on features and functions that support student growth and achievement while streamlining writing instruction for teachers, MI Write makes writing easy. Students are supported through every draft with feedback and analysis based on the Six Traits of Writing, encouraged to collaborate through peer review, and empowered to grow through the evaluation and recommended lessons. Teachers can customize prompts to meet their instructional needs, incorporate mini-lessons on skills, and save time on grading with a narrow focus on higher-level feedback.
While all of education’s problems cannot be solved in one simple program, MI Write does tackle obstacles regarding writing instruction, freeing up a lot of time for teachers to do what they love to do: teach! If you are interested in learning more about MI Write and how it can help relieve stress in your school or classroom, contact us today!