At the end of each session, the teacher takes the writings home—as long as the writers are willing to give them to the teacher—in order to provide written feedback to each writer.

The teacher’s comments take the form of supportive affirmations of what was written, questions that come to mind, suggestions for further exploration, identification of compelling turns of phrase, and the like. The purpose of the comments is to encourage the writer, to make it evident that the teacher is also learning from her story, and to model a process of constructive and supportive feedback to the group. The teacher also types up all the writing so that the participants have copies of everyone’s work to read from at the next session. The teacher types the writing as is, with no editing of style or content. Punctuation and grammatical errors are corrected by the teacher only if they impede a reader’s ability to understand what’s being communicated. The reason this approach is taken is that the CWP writing workshop process primary purpose of the writing workshop is the sharing and development of rich, detailed stories from the participants’ lives.

Also, many participants have been deterred in the past from writing, or lost confidence in their ability to write, because they have had the experience of being intimidated by teachers in the past. The pedagogy of popular education assumes that teachers and students learn from each other, and it is the role of the teacher to support the students’ self-expression as their equal and never assert a role of dominance, which the act of deploying “red ink” can often do.

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