Writing in English
Writing Within, Across, and Beyond the Classroom
The online world of gaming, social media, and mobile technology has increased the amount of writing we engage in, although not the amount of academic writing. Sometimes this causes consternation. Is the current explosion of text speak “dumbing down” writing? Rather than resist this nonacademic type of writing, we can see it as a student strength or interest and build writing instruction from there. For example, when students informally complain about another teacher, administrator, or parent, we can ask them to write that person an email. The act of writing often distracts students from the way they are feeling; the email becomes an opportunity to practice writing about cause and effect, argumentation, or reasoning. Teachers can also consider how the traditional correspondence now offers more opportunities to write letters of inquiry, appreciation, or complaint and send them via digital means. In the world of social networking and social marketing, businesses invite consumers to contribute their written thoughts on sites such as Yelp and LinkedIn. Blogs that students begin to express a special, personal interest are another opportunity for writing development.
Apply: If you are currently teaching, ask your students what types of writing they engage in outside of school. Compare their responses to the writing you assign. How can you craft your writing assignments to more closely connect to the kind of writing that interests your students? Reflect on this in a short essay.