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ERIC Number: ED353590
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-Nov-23
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
Peers, Risk and Writing.
Lensmire, Timothy J.
This paper explores the importance of peer relations for the experiences and texts of children in a third-grade writing workshop. Peers, as an audience for children's writing, bring with them friendship, trust, and a "social energy" that empowers authors and their writing in the classroom. Simultaneously, peers also bring with them teasing, risk, and conflict, so that the underside of peer relations must be considered, since certain children can potentially silence other children in a classroom situation created explicitly to assure that all students are heard and respected. A year-long case study was carried out in which a teacher-researcher both taught and observed third-grade writing classes based on a workshop approach. Observation showed that children tended to seek and avoid certain audiences for their writing. Furthermore, students tended to anticipate bad experiences if they were to conference with certain kinds of children. The children, thus, came to view the business of writing as being "risky." An important aspect of a writing workshop, then, must be to foster a place of safety, sharing, and low risk. Differences among the children, including status, power, and class, had prominent effects on the sharing time and on story content. Children at the top, for example, tended to write themselves into their stories more often. Overall, those who try workshops must pay attention to the immediate peer culture, and should articulate goals concerning the type of classroom environment in which children can write and learn well. (Seventeen references are attached.) (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Teachers; Researchers; Practitioners
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A