Attachment 7: Motivating Writers
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Often, students who are used to being told that they are bad writers have very little motivating them to take the big steps toward learning writing strategies. Here are two ideas for motivating students to write:
In a tutorial, you have the opportunity to encourage the students' writing by having a written conversation. You might start by asking an easy and accessible question about something in which you know the student is interested, like "How is your team doing right now?" or "What did you think of The Simpsons last night?" The student then replies on paper, and you reply back with another question than will illicit an "easy" response.
You can use one of several different forms of journal writing with your tutee or student. The purpose of this journal is simply to get the student used to writing, so you might make an agreement that the journal is the student's private place to write. You might, on the other hand, try one of these other forms:
- Dialogue Journals: a two-way communication between you and your student. You can dialogue about casual issues, or talk about what you are doing in your session.
- Reading Response Journals: This is a great way for a student to generate ideas for writing about reading. You might give the student reading questions that she might respond to in her journal, or encourage the student to "freewrite" a response after she has read.
- Learning Log: This could be a place where your student writes about her use of the strategies you have taught her, the frustrations and questions she is having, and the successes she is experiencing. If you both agree that you will respond to these entries, be sure to emphasize that you WILL NOT evaluate this writing at all.
If your student is having a hard time getting started with the journal, even when you have offered suggestions for starting points, you might give her the following:
- Before you write, think of the kinds of things you have done that day.
- Make your entries brief if you like.
- Have a good-sized notebook on hand and something to write with.
- Choose the time of day that you feel most like reflecting and thinking
- Use all your senses as much as possible. Start with what you see and work through your other senses.