It's more important to write a "personal response" to literature than engage with the content. There is nothing inherently inauthentic about research papers and English essays. But at present, we expend too much effort trying to get children to "live the writerly life" and "develop a lifelong love of reading." You're not going to get to any of those laudable goals without knowledge, skills, and competence.
Earlier this year, David Coleman, the principal architect of the widely adopted Common Core Standards, infamously told a group of educators, "As you grow up in this world, you realize people really don't give a shit about what you feel or what you think." His bluntness made me wince, but his impulse is correct. For every kid who has had his creative spark dimmed by "paint-by-numbers" writing instruction, there are almost certainly 10 more who never developed that creative spark because they grew up believing they can't write and never learned to adequately express themselves.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the way we teach reading and writing to some of our most vulnerable students.
Every day, for two hours a day, I led my young students through Reader's and Writer's Workshop.
It is the intoxicating power of words and our own stories, writing for an audience and making things happen in the world. I taught 5th grade at PS 277 in the South Bronx from several years.
Like so many of our earnest and most deeply humane ideas about educating children in general, and poor, urban children in particular, this impulse toward authenticity is profoundly idealistic, seductive, and wrong. I used to damage children for a living with that idealism.
Sometimes it’s the stories and memories associated with it, other times it’s the inexplicable way that it shapes us when we have it on.
Certain pieces can endure the test of time and remain a staple in your wardrobe regardless of passing trends.
So what is it about dressing the body—another form of self-expression—that makes it different?
Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that fashion is often pigeonholed as fashion magazines and consumerism—which it can be—but it can also be a lot more nuanced.