Can you trust the system?

Jul 22, 2016 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team

If you have been searching our forum or calling our coaches for help, you have probably heard the advice, “Trust the system.” When you first begin learning the Structure and Style™ approach, it can be tempting to rearrange or skip some of the structural models. We want to share with you some compelling reasons to follow the structural models in order.

I have been teaching this method since 1996 and have had the privilege of studying it in detail for the past six years. During this time, I have become convinced that the order of the structural models is not random, but rather intentional and, indeed, brilliant!

Through a series of blog posts, we will look at our writing method from a bird's-eye view so that you can see how the structures build upon each other. During countless individual conversations, teachers have told me this information adds purpose and direction to their teaching.

In the upper right, you will see our nine structural models and what Dr. James B. Webster, the creator of the Structure and Style method, called the Pathway of Written and Oral Communication. We will be showing you three threads of skills that are woven through the order of the structures. Over the next few weeks, we will dedicate a post to each thread: 

I would bet you don’t need to be convinced of the critical need for these skills in today’s world. The wonderful news is that you can teach our system without purposefully addressing these skills, and they will still develop in your students. 

Maybe this is why faithfully teaching the complete pathway is more powerful than diligently teaching just one or two of the structures. The magic is in the pathway. Hence—trust the system.  

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Janet Spitler, IEW's Schools Division Director, heads up our efforts to support full-time schools with ongoing training, teacher mentoring, telephone contact, and classroom-specific materials. With abundant classroom experience, Janet shares her experience of building a linguistically rich environment to develop a love for language and a community of learners. While she cherishes the time she spent influencing students and parents, today she applies that same dedication to the classroom teachers who use this method. She is accredited as an IEW® Instructor at the highest level.

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