issues close to home

My composition students are writing their essays on local issues.  Because they’re a special cohort, they happen to be all from the community, so it’s easier to engage them in local issues.  We had the county council chair person visit the class to tell them about some of the local issues, resources, and contacts.

The students came up with some great ideas: public school funding allocations (arts versus sports, for example), homeschooling, local music scene and concert hall, high school sports injuries, lack of local entertainment for teenagers, insufficient anti-drug education and so on.  The most exciting part is that the students are choosing topics that are close to home, things they’ve experienced, seen, or experienced.  These are issues that they actually care about it.

The idea of doing local issues is not always possible, especially in a diverse classroom, but there are ways to engage students in topics that they care about.  Writing exercises is not effective when the writer is not invested, and this is how many writing students feel: They feel like they’re writing in a vacuum.  Writing is most effective when it matters.  We should allow them a chance to write about something they feel deserves their writing voice.

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