Nobody washes rental car

I have made this statement in numerous workshops over the years and then asked the participants to raise their hand if any of them had actually washed a car they had rented. Almost all have responded in the negative.

And then I’ve proposed to them that for many students who experience difficulty writing, the work they produce is like a rented car. They don’t own it – it’s not theirs!

It’s fascinating to me that I can ask any student to write directions to their house or for performing an activity they are good at and know a lot about. They respond without hesitation, and they write with confidence and more legibly and with fewer spelling and grammar mistakes than they make in their submitted academic work.

And right there is the nature of their problem. The difference is that one involves a subject they know about and the other involves subjects that they, for all intents and purposes, don’t.

The solution to helping someone improve their writing is to make sure they have clearly processed and organized their thoughts about the intended subject of their writing.

The format of our learning portal is specifically designed to guide students through the process of acquiring knowledge of subject material to such a point that they clearly know what they are actually going to be writing about. We then provide them with formatted space and support performance tools – e.g. speech to text – to generate writing that belongs to them.

The result? Writing they want to show and share with the pride that comes from ownership.

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