Individualized Instruction for Unique Individuals
As the founder of WriteAtHome.com, I’d like to be able to say that I had it all planned out from the beginning. But the truth is, I’m still just figuring out why WriteAtHome works so well.
One reason I’ve discovered is that every WriteAtHome student gets personal attention from a writing coach — a coach who cares not only about how a student communicates, but also what the student communicates. Good writing coaches look for a thinking, feeling human being behind the writing, they help students discover their own authentic voice as a writer, and they tailor their comments and instruction to the particular needs of each student.
As we’ve said for years, there’s no answer key for good writing. That’s because there’s no single right way to write. No wrong ways either, really. We all have our own unique approaches to thinking and communicating our thoughts, and WriteAtHome is perfectly set up to accommodate the endless variety of written expression.
Sure, there are certain principles of good writing that are relatively universal, but they are only principles. English is so sweeping and colorful that it permits widely different ways to abide by these principles.
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Our writing coaches have their own style, taste, and preferences, sure, but they also understand that their job is not to fit students into a box. We don’t provide writing templates or prescribed formulas. In fact, we encourage students to think out of the box, whistle their own tune, march to the beat of their own drummer.
That doesn’t mean we won’t suggest tried and true structures. We put training wheels on bikes until the rider gains some confidence. But training wheels are designed to come off eventually. We may teach the classic five-paragraph essay, but not because it’s always the best model. It’s just training wheels. Our hope is that once the student gains confidence with the basics, they can lose the training wheels and start jumping curbs and doing wheelies.
WriteAtHome is effective because we let kids be themselves. We help them to discover and trust their own voice. We recognize that every writer is a uniquely created individual with her own personality, talents, experiences, hopes, dreams, and ideas. Some are more conscientious than creative or more playful than pensive or more impulsive than intellectual. Some write in shouts and others in whispers. Some write in scribbles and curly-cues and others in straight lines. One’s not necessarily better than another. Just different. Our coaches are experts at helping students find not so much the way but their way to write.
I’d love to tell you that this individualized approach was part of my teaching philosophy from the beginning, but that’s just not true. I stumbled upon a teaching model that works, and now I’m having fun figuring out why we keep producing student writers who are not only writing better, but enjoying it more.
If you haven’t given WriteAtHome a try, please take a few minutes to visit our website and see what we have to offer. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask it in the comments below.
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