When reading through peer’s blogs I came across and entry that Jaimie M wrote. In this entry she asked three questions and gave her response. The questions caught my attention as they are things I feel every teacher should think about. The first question was “Is there a type of genre writing a teacher should focus on?”
I agree with Jaimie when answering this question. I too feel that each of the genre presentations have been helpful in learning the specifics of each genre. As we have watched and participated in the various presentations each genre seems as though it is of utmost importance to teach to children. I agree that each genre should be taught explicitly, but as Jaimie asked, to what extent should they each be taught and used in the classroom? I also agree with Jaimie that thinking back to my own schooling, narrative and expository texts were the most commonly used. I rarely was asked to write a poem or a letter when in school, even in the later years. I feel that this lack of creativity and variety needs to be changed in a classroom. I think students should learn about each genre of writing and be expected to be able to write in each genre. As students are creating writing I feel there should be a wide variety of genres, rather than an overwhelming emphasis on expository, or essay, writing. Students’ creativity should be expanded, rather than facts being regurgitated in their own words. With this being said I would like to also answer Jaimie’s second question.
The second question Jaimie raises is “Is it necessary to master the genres?”
I feel that students, once they are ready to graduate, should feel confident that they could write in any genre they were asked to. This does not mean the students need to feel comfortable writing in every genre. With anything in life there are things everyone has to do and can complete, but is not necessarily comfortable doing. An interview is an example, I cannot think of someone that enjoys interviewing and is overly confident, but everyone is able to complete an interview and get through it. I feel as teachers it is our duty to teach our students the life skills they may need. With this I am thinking of the lack of letter writing in school, and how it is an everyday skill for some people, but definitely a skill that almost anyone in society needs to have. Poetry is a different idea, as it is more of a creative and expressive genre for most people. Teaching this to students introduces a new avenue for students to get their ideas out. As teachers I feel we need to introduce as many genres and topics as we can in an organized manor for students to be able to find what interest them. This does not mean students need to become a master in everything we teach, including genres. This leads to Jaimie’s third question.
The third and final question is “Should teachers be able pick and choose what they teach?”
I feel that teachers should have guidelines for what needs to be taught in each grade level, to be sure students are being introduced to each genre. I do also feel that there should be an outline of what students need to know about each genre, but the way teachers choose to introduce the genre and key points should be up to the teacher. If a teacher wants to use trade books of their choosing I feel they should be allowed to. I feel that with the education and professional development each teacher has had to have, they should be trusted with at least picking out trade books. Teachers have very little say in how they teach topics trade books is one area that teachers should be able to choose books that fit the genre and relate to their students level and interests. If administration is concerned there can be a policy in place for books to be approved before used in the classroom. Overall I feel that teachers should be able to decide, within a general outline, how and what they teach in their classrooms as far as reading and writing in the many genres.