Friday, April 27, 2007

Reflections on the Chat with Amie Wolf (1)

Chatting with Amie was really inspiring for me, which threw me out to rethinking over some important issues closely associated with basic writing, basic writers as well as basic writing teachers when we are approaching to the end of this semester.

To our first question, Amie answered that there has been a negative perception toward basic writing, that is, the BW students always regard their BW class as “dumb” class. So I continued the trend that if it is the case, then the students may probably regard themselves as “dumb people”, “less intelligent’, and “incapable of writing well”, not to mention what others (their teachers, friends, parents, etc) would think of them, as a result, what’s going to happen? The BW class is much more likely to fail from the very beginning! Because what? Because that the students and all the people around them have no confidence in them at all! While confidence by itself has the magic power of overthrowing everything! No doubt it’s DOOMED to reach failure!

Here raised the task for us either teachers or tutors or teachers-to-be: What should and could we do to cope with this situation? Otherwise hardly could we construct anything on this basis. Not only mustn’t we comment on the students being “dumb” (as a tutor did mentioned in Amie’s talk)—that’s our minimal PROFESSIONAL ETHIC as teachers, but also shouldn’t we think at the bottom of our heart that way—the reasons why teachers being teachers lie in that there are certain people in need of instructions and improvements, and THAT IS what teachers holding this title should work on and contribute to, so for this sake, we should forbid ourselves certain thoughts, certain words and certain actions as well, to be qualified as teachers. Building upon this solid rock, we then have to do something further. We need to show our respect to students no matter to how much degree they failed to reach our set-up goals and fulfill our expectations, we need to find out and recognize the merits, the advantages, the talents and the intelligences from whatever fields they participate in in each of them, and most importantly to SHOW our RECOGNITION OUT to them! In addition, try to encourage them to keep practicing writing and ease their worries about making mistakes during this learning process. I believe in this manner students would surely regain their confidence of writing well and making a progress then eventually make a difference in their writing! Worthy to mention a little bit, teachers’ attitudes toward students can play a vital role in achieving our final goals! Kind and pleasant countenance should be recommended and could work better when we point out or correct the mistakes or shortcomings in their writing, since anyone would be inclined to accept a mild and friendly way especially when exposing to their own mistakes. Thus, to build up a harmonious and mutually trustworthy relationship between teachers and students is also of great importance and should draw our enough attention.


BeardedFury said...

Preach it, Jia! I especially liked your articulation of the suggestions that a "kind and pleasant countenance should be recommended" to teachers and that constructing "a harmonious and mutually trustworthy relationship between teachers and students is also of great importance." Very well stated and I am inclined to agree with you--perhaps because of your kind and pleasant countenance.

Gabriel said...

Again I say...this is where I come for my power of positive thought. Always keepign it positive.

Viking Girl said...

Yeah, it is definately all about building the students up. If you think they are smart and tell them so, they will eventually begin to believe it. Not that any of them aren't smart, they just need some help. You are their help. It makes me think of that cheezy motivation poster "If you can believe it, you can achieve it." I think those writers were on to something!

scoutnell7 said...

I have to agree confidence is key in teaching basic writing. If the students are not encouraged that they have a great deal of potential it will be difficult to convince many of them that it is worth it to give improving their writing a try.