Promoting "Free writing" among Elementary School Students
What are the chances of promoting writing skills in elementary school students using the Free-writing method?
If you are an elementary school teacher, then you will be aware of the importance of elementary education. Elementary schools make the education base of pupils stronger and prepare them for the upcoming educational levels. These levels can be in different fields like engineering, humanities, medicine, etc. Keeping in view the importance of elementary education, many different healthy activities are promoted by various educational institutions such as games, music classes, dramas, speeches, etc. Among the seas of all such activities, one such activity is known as “Free-writing”. Freewriting is defined by different people in different definitions and methods. However, all the great authors and writers of every age, era, and region take this practice as “ a one-step toward one’s success”. Free-writing is a technique in which an individual writes down his/her thoughts continuously, irrespective of grammatical and structural mistakes, topics, etc. Also, one could do free-writing in any language. This method or technique is also taught in various elementary schools of various countries. This technique polishes the writing spirit and qualities of a student. The main purpose of teaching such activities is not merely to develop and polish the writing skills but also to train the mind of the students for their upcoming lives. Now, let's discuss the various aspects of free-writing in elementary school students.
Basics of Free-writing in Elementary School Students
Before diving into the immense details of freewriting, let’s discuss some of the basic purposes of free writing in elementary schools.
It is said that a good start of primary education for your children paves the way for the social, economic, political growth and development of a society which eventually leads to a better and prosperous future. And the stated fact is true there are many live examples in which the developing societies made their education their center of interest and this fact lead them from being known as a developing society to a developed society. Students of elementary schools are just like “small seeds” which need a proper environment for their growth. That is why various activities for the children are framed. And among all such exercises, free-writing is the best one as this activity not only enhances their writing skills but also polishes and takes their brain’s thinking capacity to another level.
Against all other activities in which a student needs a lot of material e.g, in a football game, a student needs a proper uniform, he requires a complete football kit, has to pay fees, etc, but for freewriting, what a student needs is to have a pen, paper and a desk to sit and in some cases, they even don’t need a desk, isn’t that great? Plus, it also helps the student to explore themselves unleashing their true potential getting to know about their field of interest. Also, it helps the “shy” student of the class to express his/her thoughts in front of everyone (even though it is in the written form, yet it is a first step towards building confidence). In recent research, the stats were astoundingly amazing as it was revealed that almost more than 70% of people tend to be franker and more expressive while writing instead of when they are speaking, So this is a fact as well. Free-writing is an effective “tool” that helps the students to point out their best area of writing. Writing may include poems, prose writing, journals, essays, and or different topics of the student’s own choice. It can be a type of co-curricular activity, this also creates a healthy atmosphere of competition.
You may be thinking about how to do free-writing? What are the tips and tricks to do freewriting? How can you teach your students to do freewriting? In fact, what are the hidden techniques to do this sort of writing? To all these questions, there is a simple answer: WRITE. To do free-writing, one does not need to have a command over English (or other languages in which you are doing free writing). Freewriting is simply an “art” that accommodates everyone. However, there are many techniques or steps which are devised by the teachers so that their students could easily do freewriting. Some of the most used and effective techniques of freewriting are given below:
- Ask your students to clear their minds. Take a deep breath and relax. Just grab their pen and paper and start writing.
- Set a time limit for your students. The time limit can vary from 5-10 minutes. However, if you think your students are now “smart enough” then increase it to 15-20 minutes.
- After setting out the time, ask your student to start writing. Even if they say “They are not understanding what to write?” Ask them to write on it! (However, it is recommended to give your students a topic so that they could clear their minds).
- When the given time ends, ask your student to stop writing. Ask your student to re-read their writing and point out useful ideas from it. Also, let them point out their own mistakes so that a sense of confidence could be built among them.
- All students are not alike. Some tend to be more brilliant and intelligent and some may be a little lesser in their mental capacity. Do not degrade any student. Instead, ask the novice student politely about the problem he is facing? How could you help him/her?
- Instead of forcing the students to write such material which will help them to gain A+ or some higher grades, let them write with their own will. Organize a competition among the students. Healthy competition always supports a healthy atmosphere. Announce gifts for the toppers. This will lead the students to actively participate in writing.
Integration of Free-Writing in the classroom
For a teacher, it is quite a difficult task to increase the rate of integration of class fellows or students among each other. But free-writing is such an amazing activity that increases the collaboration of students. Before asking the student to write down, ask them what they think they should write today? Should I (i.e teacher)give them a topic today or they want to do a topic less writing? Which topic do they think is best for writing today? And before starting the free writing class, let the student have a “discussion session” on the topic and give them some time. Either make a group or let the whole class do a discussion.
Also, when a teacher, himself/herself takes active participation with their students in discussion, it's quite obvious and natural that the students start to feel more enthusiastic and motivated and it will build a more sense of confidence among them.
After having a proper session on discussion, ask the student to write down. Either make a team of students or let them write individually. If a teacher also starts writing down with their students, the students start to put more effort into their work to show their skills and passion. When the students are done with their work, ask the students to read their work. This will not only enable that student to have more confidence in expressing his/her thoughts but also let his/her class fellows capture some useful material for their writing. Even if a student does not perform well, instead of degrading him, ask about the problems he/she is facing and help him/her to resolve them!
Chances and Limits of Free-writing
There is a saying that everything has its pros and cons. The same is the case with free writing. Along with advantages, many disadvantages are also diagnosed through this approach. These are mentioned below:
- It is often considered a wasteful exercise. Because, most of the time, students do free-writing practices but they don’t gain anything. It could be due to lack of guidance provided to them, lack of time, degrading their “scrambled” writings, etc.
- Some students need extra guidance as compared to the rest of the class. They are asked several times the same question, or their writing might be ridiculed by their fellow students. As a result, those students get disheartened and don't take active participation.
- Some of the students are “not interested” in writing. And when they are forced to write, they do not give the required result. So, instead of forcing them, let them do what covers their area of interest like if they want to participate in games, let them go in that field. This may help them to advance in that field.
The Bottom Line
In a nutshell, we can say that freewriting is, in fact, one of the great activities for the students. Although this activity is not age, area, or linguistically bounded yet, the practice of this exercise at the elementary school level is more beneficial. Let the student write what they want to, let them explore themselves.
Who knows, who is going to be the next Sir Winston Churchill!!!
Posted: 06 Mar 2021
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