How do we approach writing? Holistically
Writing involves acquiring information, synthesizing it, organizing it and externalizing it. Different students are stuck at different phases. Maybe the student has difficulty generalizing (a crucial skill for forming an argument). Maybe the student has difficulty with individual work (because he or she is a social thinker). Maybe the student has difficulty with revision (because he or she has ADHD and is not attentive to details). For these students, I’ve developed accommodations (i.e. modifications to curriculum) and methods like "visual outlining," "talking it out" or "revising backwards." These technique break the writing process into manageable pieces that are each tailored to the student's individual issues.
How does the student learn best? Through Different Modalities
If a student is primarily “visual,” we will approach writing through a variety of visual diagrams. If the student is primarily “aural,” we might make recordings, either of the teacher or of the student “talking out the argument." If the student is primarily “tactile,” we might try to arrange the argument into objects, either on a desk or in the mind. If the student is primarily “social,” we’ll try to organize study-groups and peer quizzing sessions. Students learn and think differently; the more students learns about their process, the more they can take advantage of their unique strengths and the more they can avoid their weaknesses.
How can the student best connect to the assignment? Through Sincere Interest
Many students see incoming assignments purely as toil; nonetheless, essays are actually opportunities to explore topics and ways of thinking the student might find interesting. We help teach my students how to enter the right state of mind; before beginning any assignment, we encourage them to ask these basic questions: (1.) Is this assignment something I'm actually interested in? (2.) If so, how can I explore it? (3.) If not, is there a way to reframe the question so I can focus more on what I’m interested in? (4.) Might there be an unusual point of view to consider that might make this more engaging? The more meaning one is able to find in an assignment, the easier and more rewarding that assignment will be.