Sunday, April 26, 2009
The Work at Hand
How to inspire people to love language? How to instill a keen and honest interest in writing, telling their stories, reading a book when it is not a regular practice? That is the work that I am engaged in, starting with children early in their careers as learners, then with students already disengaging from the passion by middle school. By high school, many of them are convinced it is "boring" and no longer have interest.
It is a constant challenge to develop discussion points and activities that coerce the reluctant and fulfill those who already drank the Kool-Aid.
My starting point is the brain...that portable personal computer that is grander than any computer designed and manufactured. Reminding students of all ages that they are life-long learners, that the brain is the most marvelous of devices and each of us owns one, for free. We need to nurture and maintain this incredible machine that can do more than any laptop in any given second. It is as astounding as the universe.
As I explain that the brain is this ultra-computer, I build on the metaphor and explain that the job of the writer is to make those imaginary DVDs and CDs that slip into the brain's drives so the voice of the narrator fills the mind as one reads silently, so the movie will play as one reads an intriguing piece of fiction. Strive for this goal. Be that kind of writer who deliberately selects each word to collaborate with the others to achieve this goal.