Today someone unexpectedly told me they’ve read my blog. An audience. Right at the moment when I’ve been thinking and writing about audience. A lot. And how appropriate, too, since I haven’t posted to this blog in almost two months.
Knowing that there is someone listening, someone reading, someone thinking about what we have to say is motivating. It motivated me to get on my computer (when I should probably be getting a good night’s sleep) and write. It motivates our students, as well. When the teacher is the primary audience for students’ writing, the motivation is a grade or compliance or to avoid consequences. Students are not learning to write. They’re learning to obey and follow rules.
Having something to say, having a reason to say it, and having someone to say it to are all factors at play when we write. Story, purpose, and audience are the words we often use in school. We teach kids to summarize stories or to read the words and explain what they understood. We ask students to identify an author’s purpose or to discern how an author is trying to affect his audience. Too rarely do learning experiences in schools call for students to make meaning, produce text, write for a purpose to affect a listener, a reader, a thinker, another human being.
I’m thinking and writing a lot about audience and how purpose and story and publication affect audiences and how audiences affect our story, purpose, and craft. NWP forgave my verbosity and granted our proposal. In 2017-2018, I will have the pleasure of thinking and planning, studying and writing more about publication and audience with 10 Bastrop ISD K-4 teachers with whom I am collaborating for this grant-funded project: Choice and Voice: Audience and Agency in a Resilient Rural Texas Community. More to come. Thanks for the motivation, Brady and NWP!