I am all in favour os self-care, for if one doesn't make time to care for oneself, how can they take care of others? For educators, this is easier said than done. (two beautiful, moving posts on this issue are included below in Further Suggestions)
The same holds true for writing. If one does not practice the art of writing, how/when may one feel confident enough to share one's writing? How can one feel confident to collaborate in writing practices/tasks?
Sharing ideas and writing tasks is quite common in many classrooms. And contrary to perhaps what some people claim, young people are indeed reading, they are indeed writing - however, these habits may have simply changed formats.
Personally, I lean towards a culture of collaboration in my teaching practices.Nevertheless, I am often left wondering whether perhaps another approach could also be more beneficial at times, i.e. rather than shared writing tasks or writing for an audience, for instance, could giving learners a more personal space to write also be beneficial?
This comes back to slow learning.
Instead of constant, hurried, repetitive writing tasks, why not give students a quiet time in class to write? To write for the sake of writing. To write for the sake of overcoming that fear and anxiety of a white, empty sheet/screen blinkering out for words and thoughts?
A writing space for oneself. Practically a writing room for oneself.
No need to share, to post on Social Media - that remains an option open to the writer. 750 Words is not about creating content to share nor updating Social Media statuses. It is merely a quiet (digital) writing space.
You can also go back to your writing and read it on the screen or in a PDF; this PDF can then be shared in a Padlet, for example, if there is a reason to share one's writing and receive feedback from class peers. For instance, there could a day of the week/month that students share their writing with their peers or if a particular topic is given for writing (though this last example does take away a certain degree of student agency in the writing task).
For learners who enjoy a more competitive touch to their writing tasks, there are points to collect and they can even see how other writers are collecting their points:
"Every month you get a clean slate. If you write anything at all, you get 1 point. If you write 750 words or more, you get 2 points. If you write two, three or more days in a row, you get even more points. It's fun to try to stay on streaks and the points are a way to play around with that. You can also see how others are doing points-wise if you're at all competitive that way. How I see it, points can motivate early on, and eventually the joy of writing will kick in and you'll be writing without any external motivation at all."
There are also badges to collect and visual feedback on one's writing.
Although 750 Words is aimed at writing exactly that, it may be too challenging for some contexts.
In EAP, for example, there is so much to cover, that students barely have time to reflect on what exactly they are supposed to be learning and achieving. In that case, why not lower the daily or weekly number of words?
This writing task may be integrated in classroom practices once or twice a week, giving students the chance to actually write whatever they want to and not be constricted by a syllabus and possible looming exams.
Classrooms are such busy spaces. Why not give learners a time of quiet, a time to write for the sake of writing and letting their thoughts run freely, unconstrained from the fast-paced rhythm of their days?
Who knows what learning may occur.
Video by from