A New Age of Writing

compliments of Google images.
compliments of Google images.

“We need to know the destination–if not in a precise way, then at least a generalized way.  Before we actually translate anything into reality we must be able to dream about it.”

-Muhammad Yunus

In my world, in my sphere of influence, the destination is all I have. I am not a writer. I am a teacher. If I wish to have any success, if I wish to have any a power or influence, I have to sell my students on their potential; I have to help them see the end–sort of a transpurposed (yes, I made that word up) photograph–they have to see a snap shot of who they could be in the future. In the end I have to help my students believe the dream I have for them and help them have that same dream.

So the question must be asked: what is my dream for my students? Where do I want them to be in the future? If Mr. Yunus is correct that dreams must exist before reality can be realized, then this question has to be asked. Here is my dream. I don’t write, I teach my students how to write, and if I am allowed, I am going to extend the definition of writing into a more infinite form. I want my students to write their futures. I want any and every student to leave my room with the power to take control of their life and choose a life of good. Everyone should have a definition of what “good” is and it is okay if it does not always agree–as long as core moral values are addressed.  I want my students to be agents of globalization because as Doreen Starke-Meyerring said, “Globalization not only increases discursive interaction between multiple local contexts but also connects diverse local contexts, organizations, and their discursive practices with global ones.”

This quote may seem like it is taken out of context until I explain how I look at this in relationship to my dream. Discursive means dropping intuition and relying upon reasoning in order to proceed. I want my students to be positive parts of this globalization process that is sweeping this world. In whatever ways they participate I want them to write uplifting, impressive, and legacy leaving chapters in this movement. I want them to dream their epoch and then translate that into reality with thorough reasoning and intention–not just intuition–and I feel as though it is my job to teach them how to do this type of writing.

In relationship to this idea, I am drawn to what Deborah Cameron says in Globalization and Language Teaching. She says, “What I am calling self-improvement culture’ comprises a range of practices and text-types focusing on the individual and her or his relationships with others, and particularly on the problems of modern personal life.” I am drawn to this because it relates the idea of language being used to promote positive interaction with fellow citizens. This concept should be globalized because the reality now needs, to use Yunus, to be re-dreamed and retranslated.

As I look at the world our youth is going out into, when I look t the world our youth will be asked to fix in the future, I worry and I am overwhelmed about my job in the present. I think things need to be changed. I think that a new definition of writing needs to be examined. Teaching implies action will or should eventually and inevitably follow. I can have my students write paper after paper about chain reactions from one small action, or in essence the proverbial butterfly effect, or I can teach them how to be agents of change and agents of change for the good.

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I do not mean to preach, but I suppose I will always look at every opportunity as a teaching and learning experience because I am a true blue, died in the wool, teacher. I suppose I have also taken a lot of liberties with this assignment and the very definition of writing, but I took an honest look at my profession and an honest look at what I do with writing and this is the most sincere topic I could think of, and as this is the last blog post for this class, I wanted to go out with a bang. Thank you for indulging me and my strange way of looking at life, but this is me and this is real life. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you to my colleagues for being so kind about my writing and it has been an honor to rub shoulders with you all.

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4 thoughts on “A New Age of Writing”

  1. Good work, Eric, although I disagree when you say you are not a writer. I think it’s impossible for anyone to be a student or a teacher without be a writer to some extent of the word. You may not aspire to publish a book or even an article some day, but you do aspire to touch the world with the lives of the children you teach to write, so in a way, you are enabling more writers to come into the world.

    I am working on a book now, that I think would go hand in hand with the type of writing you speak of here for your students. This type of writing is called Future Stories, and they are designed to have students write a letter to a friend from the proposed future date everyone will be using, say 25 years in the future. In this letter, they will be telling of everything they have done and accomplished in their lives, thereby sending out a “wish” or “dream” to the universe of a detailed list of what they want their future to hold.

    Good work.

    Stacie

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  2. Hi Eric,

    Great job as usual! I really liked your introduction by beginning with a dream and how you related to your dream for your students. I enjoyed your perspective on global communication in the classroom setting. It really shows that you are passionate about teaching your students and trying to help them become better human beings going forward. Your role as an educator greatly effects your students and the way in which they see the world. That is something pretty special and you have to power to shape their attitudes about communication on a global scale.

    I thought your use of the course materials was effective and the quotations you selected were appropriate for the message you were trying to convey. I also really thought the images were appropriate, especially the first one of the hiker on a long journey. Education is a journey and so is a continual desire to improve ourselves throughout life. Even when some dreams come to fruition, other dreams are created and we try to attain them later in life. Feel free to incorporate something along those lines in you blog if you’d like to expand on the concept of dreams. Although, I don’t think you need to. It was just a suggestion.

    I especially liked your conclusion and the fact that you tried to stay true to yourself and your profession. I also struggled with applying globalization to my career as I haven’t really been exposed to much global communication. I kept mine sort of general in order to get my message across. I really liked your approach and the application of the concepts to your students. It kept me interested and you established your credibility.

    I agree with Stacie about her comment on being a writer. I have been reviewing your blogs since the first week and I think you are an excellent writer and I’ve enjoyed all of your posts. You may not need to write a lot for your profession, but you need to have a basic understanding on the principles of writing and you need to be able to critique your students’ writing as well. I’d say that makes you a writer. Nice job!

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  3. There was a great organization to this post. I loved the quote you started with. It did not directly relate to your topic but you turned it into a great introduction.

    Your post oozes with passion for teaching and an understanding of students’ needs. Encouraging agents for change is a difficult but essential requirement for today’s students. Students knowing they can be agents of change can foster more global communication and collaboration. Without having to make change, knowing that you can is encouraging and will help students address problems from a different, more creative perspective.

    Great dream for your students and great post!

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  4. Hi Eric –

    I like how you asked, “What is my dream for my students?” Such a simple question, and a crucial one, but I know from my own teaching experiences that I didn’t ask that question nearly often enough. I became too enmeshed in the day-to-day trials and tribulations, without taking a more far-reaching, even global view, of where they were headed after graduation. I hope that with my home state’s continued push for critical thinking skills at the high school level that the kids themselves will start to push for teachers who want to hear about their dreams, who know how to offer encouragement. I can remember a student that was absolutely sure she wanted to be a National Geographic photographer. I gently tried to tell her that odds might not be in her favor for such a highly competitive position, but was that my place to say that? I hope she is traveling the world today, five years later, camera in hand.

    Thanks for your insights — Deborah

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