I noticed many times during our work with Haluz that the kids were re-working paragraphs or sentences to get better effects. They would start off with an OK paragraph, sentence or idea, and then have another try, often changing the word order around.Sometimes they would try out various emotions and the associated vocab or language that went with the emotion. Over the years I’ve been constantly frustrated by my students inability or unwillingness to work on their writing – to improve the meaning, even to edit their work. Yet I have noticed that many students seem to enjoy working at making their sentence or paragraphs interesting, clear and entertaining.
This playing about with words and language – either to experiment with the power of the words, or to try out different effects of words – is really positive and encouraging. 80%of my class speak another language at home, and have rarely had the time or the confidence at school to experiment and play with English.
In our hurry and intent to “teach” non-English speaking students as much English as possible, we haven’t allowed time to use language for “play” purposes. I noticed my students were excited to try out different ways of writing the orientation, or about a character, or about an event they had experienced in the game. Was it the control over their writing? over their ideas? over the language? that was most exciting? Or was it the confidence of being in charge of English and being in charge of their story? What do you think?