How to foster good student writers | Jeannette M E Lee Parikh, PhD | 8 Min Read

By the time most students enter high school, they have already developed a fixed mindset about who they are as readers and writers. They will describe themselves as bad writers, bad at analytical writing but good at creative writing, a slow reader, a non-reader, and/or a reader of only YA, etc. While their relationship with reading reveals whether and why reading for pleasure is part of their free time, their disclosure about writing only shares their level of (dis)comfort with writing. In fact, research shows that many students’ attitudes towards writing decline as they move up in grades.

Despite their increasingly negative perception of writing, students’ attitudes don’t actually concede that they are truly bad at writing. Rather, it more likely suggests that they are unpracticed, reluctant, or developing (pick your adjective) writers who feel overwhelmed by their discomfort. As writing teachers, we should ask ourselves: How do we get students to embrace writing? And what kinds of structures need to be in place for students to develop as writers and have confidence in their writing?

According to Malcolm Gladwell in Outliers, one needs 10,000 hours of intensive practice to achieve mastery of complex skills and materials.…

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Jeannette Parikh

Jeannette M E Lee Parikh, Ph.D., is the assistant editor for Intrepid Ed News as well as the chair of the English department and head of community reading at The Cambridge School of Weston (CSW). Before CSW, where she has been since the fall of 2010, she taught at the college level for six years. She is an ISTE Certified Teacher and OER advocate. She is an experienced practitioner of integrating department-wide academic technology that serves pedagogical and curriculum goals. Her teaching philosophy exists at the intersection of the science of learning and cultivating creative thinking, joy, curiosity, playfulness, and self-awareness in all learners. She has presented at conferences on the importance of deep reading, critical listening, authentic discussion, and strategic writing in the 21st-century classroom.