Teaching Writing as Coaching
As a freshman composition teacher at Southwest Minnesota State University, I see myself as a writing coach, guiding my students from the idea stage of their essays to the final polished piece. In class we become a writing community, and they work hard helping each other in peer critique teams, set up like mini writing groups, coaching each other. By doing so, they become better editors of their own work as well as better writers. With a focus on popular culture, we've discussed reality shows, movies, music and YouTube. Now, at semester's end, as I grade their research papers--with topics such as the values taught in the Harry Potter series to the psychological damage caused by Facebook--I can take it all in, how much they have grown as young writers, how much stronger and well-crafted their sentences have become, how much their critical thinking skills have expanded, and how much they have all taught me in the process.
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I love to play with words. To capture moments on the page. To explore the physical and spiritual geography of what I call "fly-over country." I write from imagination, observation and my own experience of wandering in fly-over country--the literal, physical spaces of my life on the Minnesota prairie and the inner territory of the soul.