Gleaning Wisdom from IEW’s Accredited Instructors

Apr 26, 2022 | Posted by the IEW Blog Team

When parents are looking to find writing support for their students, then they regularly turn to IEW’s accredited instructor directory in order to locate a teacher or tutor. These parents choose to look specifically for accredited instructors because these teachers have demonstrated that they are competent in (Registered Level) and experienced with (Certified Level) the Structure and Style writing method. Accredited instructors have a collective wealth of wisdom, and we wanted to tap into some of that to share it with our readers. We hope some of their thoughts will be useful in your own instruction.

Question: Specifically with regard o writing, what is your most important teaching tip that you would like to share?

Here are just a few of their thoughts:

Meet the child where he or she is insofar as skill and comfort in writing go. ~ Rebecca

Throw away some (not all) papers. Let your kids see how much you value the creative process, not just the outcomes. This year I hope to write alongside my students and create with them so that they can see by my choices how important creative work can be (even if we throw it out when we are done). ~ Sashya

Every child is different. Find a goal for each child individually, and work to that goal. It might be to include all of the dress-ups in every paragraph. It might be not to use the same five -ly adverbs in every paper. It might be to turn in assignments on time even if they don’t have all of the dress-ups included. But find one thing that each student can achieve so that they can have “good job” written on their checklist. ~ Jennifer

Reread “The Four Deadly Errors of Teaching Writing” and Jill Pike’s “Editing with a Smile” every year. ~ Marci

Just like soccer, chess, music, or whatever else you are practicing, writing is a skill that will take time to learn. Writing is not a set of facts. It takes time and practice to learn how to write well. ~ Jen

Give clear assignments. Teach self-assessment with the checklist. ~ Ann

Model, model, model. We run alongside our child, holding the seat of the bike for as long as it takes, until he is ready to try it on his own. We need to do the same for writing. ~ Krista

Do Teaching Writing: Structure and Style (TWSS). It will transform you into a better writer and a better writing teacher. ~ Jeremy

Take time to bring in props and hands-on activities that relate to the topic, for your students to experience before writing. It builds background knowledge they can use. Then write with your students, and be willing to share your writing with them. ~ Shelley

The most important tip is one promoted by Mr. Pudewa: model, model, model. When teaching a new dress-up, model by incorporating it into a sentence. When teaching a new structure, model it as well. ~ Barbara

Don’t be afraid to help. Give choices. Scribe if necessary. Keep it light and fun. ~ Deanne

Find ways to incorporate laughter. Intentionally communicate to each student your delight in him or her. ~ Mary

Do the work yourself first! I taught the Structure and Style method to my kids for a few years. It wasn’t until I held myself accountable by applying to become a registered instructor that I actually did the work on my own: watching all the seminars from start to finish; doing outlines, rough drafts, and final drafts. It amazed me how much the work improved my writing and helped me to grasp the Structure and Style writing method more firmly. If I hadn’t been a believer before, I certainly became one then. ~ Drina

Covering less with excellence is superior to covering more with mediocrity. ~ Heather

Everybody needs an editor, and spelling doesn’t matter on the rough draft. ~ Kathleen

Do not overlook the important step of making a key word outline! Older students will want to skip this step. Don’t let them! ~ Tami

To be successful, you must be critically engaged throughout the lesson. Constantly look for clues that a child does or does not understand the ideas you are presenting, and be ready to think of new ways to reteach a concept that they are not fully grasping. ~ Sydney

Incorporate humor as the secret sauce in your instruction. Laughter makes the learning light and enjoyable, and it also helps to cement what you are teaching in your students’ minds. ~ Jennifer

There is a lot of wisdom related in these comments, and we hope they have been helpful to you. We will continue to share more wisdom in future blog posts, so keep your eyes open for them.

If you are interested in joining these dedicated teachers in becoming an accredited instructor, there is no better time than this summer! Join us as we begin yet another year of The Great TWSS Adventure, which will take us through IEW’s teacher training course, Teaching Writing: Structure and Style.

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