I {Heart} Comments

From time to time, I use this blog to sort out ideas I’m wrestling with.  I must admit this puts me in a vulnerable place.  Such was the case with Monday’s posts.  Audience — authentic audience — has been on my mind a lot lately.

Sometimes I think we make things more complicated than they need to be.  Often when  I  begin thinking this, the topic almost gets more muddy before it sorts itself out and a simplified version emerges.  I blog as a catalyst to this process.

When people leave comments to this kind of post it helps my thinking evolve.  Thank you to those who commented on Monday; you helped me think through what it means to have an authentic audience.  Deb Lund’s comment gave me the concise words I needed to help me make sense of the role peers can play as an authentic audience.  She wrote:

If they’ve already had the experience of having their own voices and choices honored, then an audience can enrich that experience. If a teacher has been the students’ only audience up to this point, they’ll just feel more pressure to make it “right” for the intended audience, and they’ll place limits on themselves that will make their writing more sterile.

If using the peers for an audience is treated like a critique group, as in the art teacher example (especially with his question “What do you think?”), students are honored. They’re sharing together in a friendly and safe format. The teacher isn’t judging as he stands with them. He’s an observer, a coach, a facilitator.

You may want to read her entire comment here.

It’s not just the posts when I’m vulnerable that I value comments . . . I always value comments.  They help me understand teaching writers at a deeper level and they make me realize there is an audience out there to my writing.  I write better when I know my peers are reading.  I hope my students are able to have this same experience in their writing lives as well.