Writing and the Classroom
What is good writing? What makes any writing that authors do intriguing or interesting and makes the piece beg to be read? This paper will discuss what good writing is and how to improve written pieces so that they are not only good, but great.
What is the definition of good writing? Good writing consists of interesting content that not only interests the author, but also readers. The topic must interest the author if it intrigues him or her so much that it makes them want to share it. The topic can be about anything and doesn’t even necessarily have to make sense or follow the rules of grammar. There are different forms of writing and the author must first think about who he’s writing for: himself or others. He must think about his audience and then tailor his writing to them. The writing also must fit the situation: is the situation formal or informal, creative or factual, fiction or non- fiction? Fiction will have more creativity to it than non-fiction as the latter follows a more factual format, thus needing to be more formal in nature. Fiction does not have to be formal as it is creative and invites the reader to use his/her imagination.
If a work is formal, then it must follow all the rules of grammar. If informal, then the piece does not have to follow all the rules. The key to getting the reader interested in a piece is to have a catchy phrase or sentence at the beginning so the reader will want to read more. This is known as a hook. A title can also work as a hook because if made to sound interesting, then the reader will look further at the piece because the title intrigues him/her. He/she will wonder what the piece is about.
What makes a hook a hook besides being catchy? Word choice and word order. A dictionary can come in handy when creating a hook as it can help the author decide which words to use based on their definitions. It can also help the author use words in the proper context in a sentence if the word was previously unknown or the author wishes to know a synonym for a word. Read the first sentence of this paper again. Is it intriguing? One way to form a hook is to start an article or paper with a question and then answer it later.
A piece of good writing keeps the reader interested the entire way through. If the reader becomes confused or bored, then he/she won’t want to read the piece anymore. A good strategy to prevent this is for the author to read over the work from the viewpoint of the reader. The author can also ask someone else to read it and receive feedback. Changes can then be made based upon the feedback received.
Reading and writing are the basis for learning. However, it would seem that teachers throughout grade levels are grading students’ writing based on grammar than content. The content is skipped over and not really thought about. This makes the student sad because they put a lot of effort into a piece and all the teacher does is comment on grammatical errors. The student will then think they are “bad” at writing and not want to write anymore. A lot of writing that students do is academic. This is a formal type of writing and so needs to follow all the rules of grammar. However, even if the teacher assigns a piece of creative writing, or prompt, students will still be graded on grammar. There still is no mention of the content. Because of this, students can find writing a chore or even punishment. All the fun has been taken out of it.
The solution to the problem above is to focus more on content rather than grammar. The teacher could go over the parameters of what the structures of poems can be, or grammar rules before an assignment. The teacher needs to let students know what is expected of them.