How Talking Helps Writing
If you ask children What do you think talk is useful for? you’ll get some interesting answers, such as You get to understand what other people think, You get to ask questions, You can tell people how you feel, You hear ideas or You get friends.
When children are regularly involved in writing activities that begin with a structured talking component, they begin to notice how talk helps them to write about a topic or develop a particular writing skill.
The idea that social interaction, as in talking, actually helps learning is not a new one. It forms the basis of the theory of social constructivism, the origin of which is largely attributed to a Russian psychologist, Lev Vygotsky. When there is guided `talk’ as part of a writing task, each person’s particular background and previous experiences adds to the development of their own and others’performance.
As an educator in a classroom, structuring writing tasks so that all students will be active in sharing their thoughts, efforts and opinions in a productive and meaningful way can be challenging. Educators become more facilitators of learning in this situation. They set up and manage processes in which they take more of a back seat. They guide students in the desired direction through the art of strategic questioning and feedback.
As a parent you can have a one-on-one situation so it’s much easier. If you can become, for a little while, another person discussing an idea within a task, rather than ‘the parent’, you will be amazed at how your child’s involvement in his own learning increases.