|"Route 108 Ice Rink": ice-covered road in Maine|
Being stuck inside for most of the past 3-4 weeks gave me time to focus on an article for English Journal. The issue is about using sports literature in the English/language arts classroom; my piece has three parts. First, the article focuses on the ways athletes and their coaches use writing in team notebooks and journals to advance learning and performance in sports. Next, the piece addresses the ways athletes' writing serves as a model for how interest-driven "expressive writing"can be used in an English/language arts classroom. Third, I talk about writing across the curriculum or disciplines in an effort to create "the writing school." As straightforward as the article may sound, I struggled mightily.
Since 2005-2006, I've written extensively about athletic team notebooks and journals. Writing an original piece on this subject meant thinking about my audience: English teachers. Truth be known, English teachers make me nervous. I know… I am one, but still…
In the article I suggest that English teachers might like to adapt their journal-writing practices to include prompts about a student's part-time job, activities (e.g., chess club, student council), or sport. My premise is that writing about "the self"--especially a student's interests--should spawn more authentic and enthusiastic writing. I also believe, like so many writing theorists, that "expressive writing" is a powerful way to learn.
One of my worries is that some English teachers don't require their students to journal. But perhaps if those teachers hear that athletes like football players and ski racers write as a way to learn, that they'll think their English students should, too. It's worth a try.