Another chapter which opened my eyes, Inside Out’s take on “Crafting Essays” was one which made me realize how deficient my possible pedagogy could have been had I not read this chapter.
I dropped out of school when I was sixteen and entered night school. There, I learned essay writing and revision but that was it. Lessons were typically centered around a topic of the instructor’s choosing and I, as the student, was expected to use whatever readings I had been assigned to create a paper according to a specific set of guidelines. This continued, more or less, into college.
Somewhere along the way, I believed that was all it took. That the teacher instructed on how to write but that the actual paper was cut and dry—this is what an essay is and this is what we are writing about. Now, get to it.
This chapter, however proved wrong my assumptions. Editorials, Investigative Reports, Performance Essays, Historical and Change Pieces, Speculative Pieces, Here and Now, List Pieces and so many more. I didn’t even imagine that these sorts of training devices/genres existed. I never heard of them while here at [my university] so I assumed that they were unimportant.
Thankfully, other parts of the chapter were less of a shock. Some of the details about improving students writing was familiar, such as phrasing parts of essays as questions or the use of discovery drafts. Other than that, I enjoyed the authors take on how to make Research Papers fun; encoding such papers musically was an innovative idea that makes a lot of sense. If I ever end up in the classroom, I will have to remember this trick and either use it or attempt to extrapolate the basic principles into my own version of making research relevant to teenagers.