How do you make a theme? how to teach a subject?
First of all it is necessary to carry out the themes, that is, in today’s school, very often you have to go against the current, because even the word “theme” seems to have gone out of fashion, it seems the legacy of the old professors that many want to send in retirement so that they take away, in all the senses, the disturbance.
We must also make it clear that the most important element is to really have something in mind to say, that something I first called a strong idea.
We must teach to seek within ourselves the motivations that surround the guiding idea that came to mind and we must immediately dispel the false problem for which so many students say: “I never have ideas”. We must teach to look for ideas, arguments.
We must teach to put the arguments in line, one after the other (the protagonist of an old film said: how did I get here? Putting one step after another).
A little at a time, when students get older, we must teach them to keep in mind the reason why they are writing, hypothesize the recipient of the communication
We must teach to be ordained, and therefore rigorous in writing.
Finally, we need to find topics suitable for the age of the students, or to use the terms previously used, we need to propose communicative problems that the students are able to solve.
I am perfectly aware that the points set out above may resemble the “good advice of the grandmother”, in the sense that they may appear, and perhaps are, terribly trivial. But I truly believe that those principles must be applied, adapting them, to any type of school, at any time of writing, both at the Primary School, and at the time when the “First Exam of the State Exam” takes place.
I was just saying that the first step is to not be afraid to have the themes done. In my experience to the Superiors I realize that this point is often really painful, because students are asked to write (alas too often) only to answer specific questions, sometimes micro-questions. In this way I meet 16-year-old students who have never really been confronted with those “good grandma’s advice” to which I attach such importance.
When I go to make substitutes, especially in the first classes, I often enjoy assigning themes to play in 30-40 ‘. I specialized in assigning “stupid” titles such as: “Why I enrolled in the Classical Lyceum”, “Why I enrolled in the Liceo Pinco Pallino”, “Describe one of your teachers”, Describe your classroom “.
I have already said it, the titles are “stupid” I add that they are intentionally such, because starting from this type of titles it is possible to verify precisely the attention to those points that I have listed above and that in technical terms can be defined as the pre requisites needed to address a topic.
In general, I have my older pupils correct the jobs they have obtained, or taken away.
I present only one example: knowing how to describe one’s own classroom is an excellent test for order, rigor, the ability to put arguments in line and the ability to communicate something to someone; I often say: put yourself in the shoes of one who reads your theme without ever having seen your classroom.
I repeat, even if we must then move on to more important topics, it is a good exercise to start from the “stupid” theme. I have already said elsewhere that a student of the last year who knows how to carry out the theme “Mother is always the mother” will be perfectly able to face the short essay.
Introduction to this article
For over a year I have been struck by the frequency with which users click on my article “Can you teach writing? You can teach writing! “
Analyzing, as far as the Blog allows me, what are the key terms, what are the sentences with which people arrive at the article, I realized a frequent question about how we teach, or how we learn, to to write. It is a question that often also concerns how children are taught, a problem that is out of my horizon because I am not competent in the field, having never taught in middle and elementary schools. For middle school I can have some ideas, since I have repeatedly taught the fourteen-year-olds, but to argue about elementary schooling would be an act of excessive presumption.
I am therefore driven to take up the subject again and I would like to do it in a more agile way, because I realize that the article published at the time is very long, very complex, requires a lot of attention and, in some cases, is not discursive but entrusts the summary of my arguments to a series of tables.
I believe that the complete reading of that text, of those many pages, can be useful, but we need to find the constancy, the continuity and the strength to read.
A teacher can do it (even if perhaps he has not spent the desire to do it), a high school student can do it independently, if he is really interested in the subject, but a two-year student and, even more than the average, which way can you find to use it?
Yet I realize that there are many questions that readers of the Blog (and not only of the Blog) ask themselves about how to teach children, young students; there are many questions that have as their object the beginning of a teaching of writing.
But who is asking these questions when opening my article? I don’t have the tools to know.
Here then I decided to resort to those arguments that I have described above as “down to earth”. I then wrote the introduction to those concepts and I hope that this introduction can serve as a guide to proceed further, if the methodology I have developed over the years can be of some use.
At the end of this article, here is the list of all the interventions that you can read on the Blog about writing: in this way, I hope, it will be easier to orient yourself and take inspiration from a few steps, without having to read everything but having anyway a tool to orient yourself on the whole.