Knowing the “rules” of writing does not always make a good writer, knowing when to use the rules and how to use them makes someone a good writer. Over time the rules of writing and writing itself has changed but as writers we should always be up to date on everything new in writing. This leaves little to zero room for careless mistakes, such as plagiarism, using proper grammar, and other minute errors that can be avoided. I can recall being a freshman in high school and being taught grammar rules of writing but not about writing itself. In Bad Ideas about writing, Patricia Dunn says educators should teach more about real world writing and I agree. If I was given more real world writing topics I probably would’ve gotten better grades in my English class, instead when I write or even when I read other writer’s work I focus solely on grammatical errors and not the art or meaning of the piece itself. This way of learning hurts students because it stifles them from ever being connected to their writing, it makes them overly conscious of parts of their paper that should be dealt with at a different time in their writing process. Teaching grammar does not improve writing but rather teaches students that if they spell a word wrong or put a comma in the improper place they will fail.
This is not the case for all writers; had I listened to my teacher in high school and only focused on grammar I would have been compelled to quit learning about writing and learning about different authors but this only pushed me to write more. I am not the best writer but I do connect to my writing. Writing is not easy nor is it simple but when it is taught not based on rules and regulations but on creativity there would be more writers. When educators focus too much on teaching grammar it takes away the potential of any interest in writing the student may have or had. They may be afraid to explore their skill because they know they are not always grammatically correct and it would be deemed wrong. Students would feel their work isn’t good enough if they constantly are failing because of what their teachers have crammed in their brains about grammar. It isn’t fair they are being judged based on what they are doing wrong instead of their actual talent and creativity. This would make it hard for anyone to write genuinely if they felt their writing was constantly being nitpicked about grammatical errors and not by the actual writing.
How can educators do better?
Instead of only teaching what is accepted as grammatically correct, educators should also be teaching their students creative writing and being connected to their writing. Rodrigo Rodriguez said the idea of leaving yourself out of your writing “both hinders and undermines deeper learning and thinking in the lives of writers, readers, and students.”Students will never know what feeling connected to their writing is because they are focused on the checklist of grammatical errors they shouldn’t make. Writing is always changing. Educators should educate their students on new writing styles, they should also grade based on what they believe is good writing and not what they were taught. This will show writers that writing isn’t always about being correct, but about passion, creativity and growth. There are great writers in every genre but they may be discouraged because they don’t know how to put their ideas on paper. Educators should teach more about different ways to organize their thoughts and plan their writing to become better writers. Not everyone writes the same, this should be introduced when writing is introduced because they would know this is ok. There will always be rubrics to follow when it comes to writing but there is no right or wrong way to express that. Students should be able to write based on the topic and use the rubric as a guide but not as something they should be afraid of. If students were told this when writing is introduced they would be a little more confident when they start their first piece of writing and continue. This would help them explore different parts of writing they never felt comfortable with and grow to become great writers.