10-second review: Students should pick their own topics, purposes and audiences which will allow them to experiment with varieties of English.
Title: “Self-Directed Writing: Giving Voice to Student Writers.” K B Lovejoy. English Journal (July 2009), 79-86. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).
Quote: “When students are given opportunities to write about their own topics and to write for different purposes and audiences, they learn that language need not be rigid as they might have thought.” p. 84.
Comment: An interesting point of view. I always felt the need to teach students to write in formal, standard English. As a result, I tried to eliminate in writing “speakwrite,” or language that is informal, like the language students use when they speak.
I think if I had to do it over, I would adopt this author’s point of view two or three times a year and maybe more often. I would still emphasize formal, standard English and I always have allowed students to pick their own topics. But, in establishing different purposes and audiences, students could vary the level of language from informal to formal, depending on the audience. An interesting idea. RayS.