|About the Book|
This book is for any teacher that finds the teaching of writing to be a special challenge. English teacher Tara Banton draws on fourteen years of experience in coaching students, ranging from struggling to advanced, reach success as writers. In thisMoreThis book is for any teacher that finds the teaching of writing to be a special challenge. English teacher Tara Banton draws on fourteen years of experience in coaching students, ranging from struggling to advanced, reach success as writers. In this reflective work, not only does she offer a candid look at the issues that make teaching and the teaching of writing a challenge in todays erratic and ever-changing educational environment, but she also offers an introduction to Finite Writing, a proven philosophy and method that promises to transform the way students write. Teaching writing poses an exceptional challenge for teachers. In most English Language Arts classrooms, the basics of writing are taught as a checklist of sorts, largely based on idea-driven writing tasks, meaning full essays for particular purposes: definition, informational, research, how to, argument, persuasive, analytical, and so on. As a young teacher, I was dissatisfied with student essays full of bad paragraphs and frustrated by little improvement between essay assignments. My students could not write sound thesis statements or paragraphs, let alone create fluency and coherence of thought and language throughout lengthy writing assignments. I began to question why I would assign full essays when the component parts had not been mastered. In music, students must practice scales and learn minor pieces before learning to play or create intricate works. In visual art, students learn about perspective and proportions, coloration formulas, and brush technique, and they may even work to copy major works - using them as models, before painting an original masterpiece. Why would I treat writing differently? My definition of what is art in writing was far too narrow. My view of teaching writing began to shift when I started to see writing as an art form, even when it is academic writing. As a result, I began to focus on writing skills more so than writing tasks. I began to have my students write tiny pieces, pointing them to specific thought patterns that must be present in academic writing, and made the time for them to analyze and then revise their writings until they exhibited mastery. As students began to internalize skills through repetitive and carefully guided practice, they would gradually progress in expectation, purpose, and length of writings. Along the way, particular academic vocabulary with clear delineations, concepts, and tools for teaching writing emerged. Together, they are what I have come to call Finite Writing. Students need to feel good about their writing in order to be motivated to write. So many students suffer through years of red marks on their essays and low grades with no finite guidance to help them to understand where they are falling down in their writing. This we can change with Finite Writing.