I’ve been thinking about the difference between pushing and nudging lately. Last summer I listened to Katie Ray and Matt Glover talk about nudging primary students as writers. At first I didn’t think much about the term. However, it has marinated inside of me and is now part of the fabric of my understanding of writing workshop.
I think about nudging students. Actually, I’m not sure that’s true. In reality, I think about not shoving writers. I think about the difference between manipulating young writers into doing what I want them to do and gently prodding them to consider new options to add to their writing repertoire. It’s a fine line.
As I’ve been sharing conferences and minilessons here on Two Writing Teachers, I’ve struggled with how to share the heart of the teaching. It would be easy to misconstrue it and make it rote, contrite, and writing centered (instead of writer focused).
I’m coming to realize nudging is a state of mind. Or maybe a state of heart. It is about believing young writers have the ability to make their own choices. It’s extending freedom to make the decisions that make sense for their purposes. At the same time it’s about offering a gentle tug when it’s time for them to try something new as a writer. Mostly, though, it’s about honoring the young writers in our classrooms.
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