Thursday, June 07, 2018

Writing to Read, Listen, and Understand

As students moved from first person to third person while telling the story of a global changemaker's life events including struggles, accomplishments, and influences, I realized how using the fictional interview genre would forever help these students to read and understand interviews both spoken and written better. To experience writing in a specific genre greatly helps students better understand that genre when reading or listening.

This is an important pedagogical and curriculum consideration as we assess and create programs of study.

We need to ask ourselves what genres do students need to understand to be able to learn and navigate their lives well. What matters?

Sometimes we get mired in using the same genre again and again rather than differentiating what we teach and what students have the chance to create. At young ages, while students do need practice to perfect their ability with any one genre, they also need exposure to many writing/reading genres. This builds their capacity for living and learning well in our world today and into the future.

We might want to begin the year by asking students to list all the genres they read and write in their daily lives. I can imagine that these categories would be included:

  • Video games
  • Instructions
  • Youtube videos such as DIY (Do it Yourself), Lyrics to Rap, HipHop, and more, dance steps. . .
  • Blogs
  • Tweets
  • Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook
  • Novels
  • Informational Texts and Online webpages
  • Texts
  • Newspapers, magazines
  • Movies & Close Captioning
  • Recipes
Simply to be aware of the genres students utilize more or less is to inform curriculum decisions and discussions. What are we asking students to compose, create, illustrate, and/or write and why does this matter? How will what students make help them to better navigate their world with good decisions, innovation, invention, and assessment? 

We can easily get mired in the old, but it's important to take a fresh look at the new too and one way to look at the new is to talk to our students, get their point of view, and teach with their needs and world in mind. Onward.