This is another short ELT post of today, inspired by the original short post by Kevin Stein and his mention of Sandy Millin.
I read Sandy’s Writing journals with students in November 2013 and I liked it very much, like so many of the things she writes about. I also remembered that I attended the session where this idea came from together with Sandy:) And I had it [idea] in my notes all the time, so I was happy to be re-inspired for some action.
Unsurprisingly, my university students, Physics majors, are not at all all keen on writing, that’s why my choice was a teenage girl I teach. She’s dreaming of becoming a journalist, writes short stories and articles in Russian and her English is, well, unsure. In a certain way she reminds me of myself in my teen age.
And because it’s a short post, here’s the end of the story: I presented her a notebook for her birthday and wrote a message for her in it with some questions she’d naturally wish to reply to. So she did, and wrote 3 pages, and asked me questions. And so the story goes on… Mistakes? There were many. I decided not to correct them, yet. You may think/ say it’s my teacher responsibility and what kind of teaching that is.. But for now I’m watching the girl’s confidence appear and grow strong. I see her notes on my messages (translation of words she didn’t know), I see it takes her time to write, she has all the time she needs and then I read her “letter” and catch a phrase or grammar pattern I’d used in my previous message.