“My hand can’t write- it’s a drawing hand!”

I was working with one of my favourite reluctant writers (7 yrs) yesterday and giving him 10 minutes as a writing slave. This means he gets to dictate his story, I write and then he copies. He watched me write and commented, “My class teacher told me My hand is a drawing hand- not a writing one!” I was a bit stuck for words but eventually replied, “I know you CAN write Daniel. Now copy this right now and show me!”

To my amazement he wrote it fast and all over the place, not even trying so I pulled myself up to my full dragonish height and told him to do it again- slower and properly and of course he could! I pondered this later and to be frank I think the class teacher was trying so hard to affirm his drawing ability (great) but chose the wrong words- Daniel now had his excuse and he will churn that out as long as it works. Unfortunately (or fortunately) he now realises it won’t work with teachers at ICE so he is back to the EXCUSES drawing board!

The whole lesson and point of this is- we have to be careful not to feed these STAR (students at risk) kids excuses. They stuff themselves with them like other kids do with hot chips! Most kids CAN write and most CAN read. We need to raise the bar- not lower it. At the moment we have many children with very high intelligence levels but very low self-esteem in relation to their literacy. Sure- some kids do struggle with literacy skills and need specific help. The point is- we must give it to them and change their perception of themselves. Using labels and telling children they will always struggle is putting a self-fulfilling prophecy in their heads.

We give the students many short, timed writing exercises that access and foster their imaginations and if they have not been given too much negative feedback, the recovery process is fast.

We will make a free visualisation available on our website www.ice-au.com and change it regularly. Parents and teachers can also download individual visualisations (fee applies) or even ask for individualised ones to be written. This approach works. Our new book MIND JOURNEYS contains over 200 pages of visualisations, activity pages and instructions and tips to get ALL kids writing. This book will be released soon- email me for advance info- victoriacarlton@iinet.net.au

Let’s go forward confidently- when we write we explore our minds and refine our thinking skills. ALL kids need this civilising skill!

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