Reflections of Teaching Narratives

Reflections of Teaching Narratives

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-9051-5.ch005
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Abstract

This narrative describes the experiences of a high school English teacher who uses innovative teaching methods to adapt to online teaching during the recent pandemic. Students relied on writing to reflect on their emotional health and found comfort in relating to works of literature. The creative projects and motivational strategies discussed can apply to anyone looking to cope with difficult times, find more motivation to achieve a goal, or practice self-compassion when confronted with unexpected events.
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Writing With Technology

When several students in my classes said they could not remember the last time they received a handwritten letter, I designed a class activity where everyone took out a sheet of paper and wrote a note to a friend or family member. Students shared with me stories of reconnecting with family members they hadn’t seen since before the pandemic. Some things, like handwritten letters, never go out of style.

Nevertheless, when I compose my own writing for chapters such as this one, I rarely handwrite anything first. Instead, I love the feeling of my fingers flying across the keyboard and seeing words appear on the screen. As Goldberg (1986) observes, “sometimes, instead of writing in a notebook, you might want to directly type out your thoughts. Writing is physical and is affected by the equipment you use” (p. 6). And a flash drive with writing is easier to carry than a pile of notebooks. Goldberg continues, there is a time and place for both because “I have found that when I am writing something emotional, I must write it the first time directly with hand on paper. Handwriting is more connected to the movement of the heart. Yet, when I tell stories, I go straight to the typewriter” (pp. 6-7). Regardless of whether students use pen and paper or their laptop computers, I want them to write.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Writing as Healing: James Pennebaker is a leader in the field which explores the health benefits of writing. Numerous studies have been conducted by researchers investigating the influence of writing on physical and emotional health.

Interdisciplinary Collaboration: This describes the teamwork that occurs when colleagues from different disciplines work together in order to learn about each other’s field of expertise. As a result of interdisciplinary collaboration, opportunities are created that may not have been discovered if the collaboration had not taken place.

Multigenre Writing: Introduced to the field of education by Tom Romano, multigenre writing consists of creative writing in multiple genres and the writer’s analysis of the genres.

Story Sharing: By sharing a story with a supportive audience, either in conversation or in writing, it frees the storyteller of unneeded physical and emotional stress caused by holding the story inside and worrying about it. Brene Brown explains that it helps people to share stories instead of numbing pain with unhealthy choices.

Motivational Interviewing: A method of using reflective statements and open ended questions to enhance intrinsic motivation for change.

Journal Writing: The process of a person responding to prompts and writing about his or her thoughts and feelings. While journal writing is typically associated with writing classrooms, writing teachers including Julia Cameron and Natalie Goldberg advocate that journal writing can be done by anyone, anywhere.

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