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Learning to Write and Writing to Learn

Every time you write audience and purpose should first be defined – even if that audience is yourself and is just work-in-progress or stems that may grow or graft onto other ideas. Since we here are talking about writing on blogs and it's the activity teachers and students perform online, so they see their work standing alongside that of their peers, I do resist to accept the invitation extended by Wired Magazine this week: Stand-alone bloggers can’t keep up with a team of pro writers, like Engadget or The Huffington Post, who crank out up to 30 posts a day. The advice for bloggers, – shut down your blogs and take refuge in places like Twitter, Flickr or YouTube.

Our kids at school are learning to write, no matter whether they are using a blog o any social network as MySpace, for example, they may be still using in the wrong place words like "were/where" . This means, we teachers need to work deeper on how to teach parts of a sentence. Gilbert Halcrow, in a comment left on Beyond School Blog asks:

Why are English and Humanity teachers so concerned about writing and not enough about audience?

Let me share what happened today at home. I received a letter from Mrs Meigh saying "Your child knew that the 45 minute persuasive benchmark would be given in class today, and your child finished hi/her final copy done for us to review before the benchmark was assigned for final comments and suggestions". My son who is a sixth grader, was so happy to show me that letter and was way motivated. Now, let me tell you, he's no the one who loves to write but the single option that makes him look better, push him to work harder and avoid himself looking weak!

The theme of work was persuasive writing and he wrote about saving a Park for the kids enjoy. He was set to an audience first. That's how they feel more compelled to write or keep writing at school projects.

But let's hear Halcrow again, If I am engaged with my peers in developing my ideas (I think that is what you mean by writing to learn) then who cares if the spelling is wrong or OMG I use textese. For that audience it is understood and efficient. If the teacher (us old farts) are involved in the collaboration then students should adapt their writing appropriately. If the text being created has to meet a formal template or a wider designated audience then different standards of writing will need to be engaged in.

Extensive explanation of Blogging to Learn and a Dialogue can be read here.

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