Experience with Tools

Experience with Tools

I've noticed recently how we give students the tools to do the work, but we don't spend enough time teaching them how to use it.

It can't be only a transfer of the information, but it must also be the time spent to practice with it.

For example, we sometimes encourage students to use outlines, because we know it can help shape and focus their writing. Yet, there are a lot of different approaches that a writer can take in using that information.

There is the expected version which is to to prep the essay ahead of time and then write it out as was planned, yet this isn't the only way. A writer might need to free-write beforehand in order to figure out what they're writing, and then need to use the outline afterwards to make sense of what they have.

Or a writer might need to move back and forth between the outline and the draft in order to map their way across a complex idea.

The point is that without time spent working with a student to learn how to incorporate the tools into a writing practice, and to know when to pull out a different tool or approach, how can they know what works?

Our experience of using the tools is what truly matters, and not only the tool itself. And that comes with the time we've spent using them, as opposed to the emering writer. Learning take time and often the practice of hood habits.

Until we show a student how to do that, the may continue to struggle.

David Gane
Canada
Writer and teacher of story.