One of the most powerful teaching methods is so very simple. If you are teaching art, let the students watch you draw. If you are promoting fitness, run with them. If you want them to write, be a writer.
I’m no artist. My drawings in art class weren’t even fridge-door worthy. Yet, that didn’t seem to matter to my students. They were fascinated when I drew along with them, always curious to check back and discuss my drawings. Instead of me, the teacher, telling the students what to do, then pace about watching them at work, I became an artist– just as I expected them to become artists.
I employed this approach to the Canada Fitness Test. I’d be out there sweating and straining along with my students, running laps, doing crunches, and attempting the dreaded flexed arm hang. (I earned a silver, by the way.) In joining them in the fitness test, the motivation level rose dramatically among the students.
And so it is with many other school pursuits, including writing. Use a Smart Board or some other projection devise to allow your students to watch you work as a writer. Your writing doesn’t have to be great. It doesn’t have to be perfect. In fact, it’s better if it isn’t. By sharing with your students the thought processes and frustrations you experience in writing, they will benefit greatly as they venture off on their own writing adventure.
Here’s a great blog post along the same lines by Bethany Hill: “Never Too Old to PLAY.”
So, get our there, and be a kid again!