Before kids talk, they want to say something. It’s the desire to talk that is encouragement to do so.
Before students learn about characters and plots and foreshadowing, they have to want to tell a story. I remember learning the terms and definitions about how writing works, but at the time it meant nothing to me. I had no stories I wanted to tell.
Well times have changed. Now I do have stories to tell and I wish I were better versed in the different elements of storytelling.
There are two possible conclusions:
1. I should have paid more attention in class. That’s the obvious conclusion that most adults would insist is the rational choice.
2. Someone should have helped me discover what story I wanted to tell. This is the conclusion that most people wouldn’t know to look for. Helping students connect with a meaningful story isn’t part of english class. But imagine a more powerful motivator to become a better writer than to desperately want to share an idea.
Before we insist that students pay more attention, let’s first think how to spark that desire to learn. If you have that, you’ll learn 10x faster than others doing it just for the assignment.