EZ+1 Reiterated

Jul 26, 2019 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team


Accomplished instructor and IEW author Jill Pike has provided invaluable advice to many IEW teachers and parents. Much of it reiterates the EZ+1 philosophy. In this particular exchange she helps a co-op instructor figure out how to most effectively present new lessons to her learners. Read their correspondence below to learn more.

Co-op instructor: I have been teaching at a co-op for at least seven weeks. I have introduced many dress-ups that the book hasn't even included yet just to get ahead. And from watching Teaching Writing: Structure and Style, that is what Andrew seems to do as well. Last week I said, you know what? Maybe I should just do the book work in class and then go over anything they have learned from the book, introducing only what the lesson gives. Previously I have been spending entire class periods teaching dress-ups and using charts and props—not just dress-ups but also written examples and some supplements that support my teaching style. Am I doing the right thing, or should I just introduce what's in the book at each given lesson?

Jill’s response: In the Teaching Writing: Structure and Style (TWSS) DVD seminar, Andrew Pudewa stresses, "Don't do to your kids what I am going to do to you," meaning don't teach them too many dress-ups too fast.

In the second edition of the TWSS, Andrew teaches the "EZ+1" principle: Everything should be easy except for the last stylistic technique taught. Thus, the pacing in the theme-based books is usually about right for most learners.

If you watched one of the old Student Writing Intensives*, note that Andrew teaches the students the style more quickly, but that is because on the videos he only has four days with these kids, period. Thus he gives them all he can in that short period of time. In a year-long class, we have the luxury to teach it "right"!

Now if the kids in your class are finding the dress-ups and sentence openers super easy and are begging for more on the checklist, by all means keep them moving along. But I find it almost always produces better writing when I give them just one element at a time, helping them to master it before I teach them a new one.

Children want to do what they think they can do. If a teacher presents only one challenging element at a time, children are more likely to feel empowered to try it because they are already able to do everything else but that one new element. By teaching in this manner, you will find that your class will actually progress more quickly than if you toss many challenges at your students at once. So feel empowered to progress one step at a time. For it’s in this manner, step after step, that a long journey is accomplished.


*Discontinued November 2019

Live Chat with IEW