“Writing with Voice” by Ted Kesler drew my interest as I did not know what “writing with voice” was until my sophomore year of college. Since “voice” is such a critical skill in a student’s writing, I decided to research methods on teaching “voice.” However, as I read, I came to the conclusion that it is almost impossible to teach voice and we should rather help the student discover their own “voice.”
In his article, Ted discusses the importance of developing the writer’s identity known as a writer’s particular “voice.” This “voice” enables a writer to explore their writing skills and practice different strategies in regards to their audience. Kesler gives an example of “voice” through two different excerpts on the same topic but directed to different audiences. These examples are meant to demonstrate to teachers and well as students how the directed audience changes the “voice” of the writer. In the first excerpt, the “voice” was more constructive and full of advice as it was directed towards peers. In contrast, the second excerpt was more of a self-declaration and justification. From these two examples, Kelser provides tips as to how to teach “voice.”
I don’t exactly believe that “voice” is something you teach but rather something you help a student discover. From his tips, I gained some helpful incite as to how to help a student discover rather than “teach.” The main objective is to question the writer: What is your purpose? Who is the intended audience? What message do you want to convey? What will your message say about you as a writer? After questioning, allow the student to write, then discuss. Group discussion helps to clarify further questions about a student’s writing.
In my classroom, I am going to be in full support of the “voice.” It gives life to a student’s writing as well as completely personalizes it. The “voice” is what keeps the student engaged and motivated to write. When a student is giving an assignment in which specific guidelines limits their expression, writing becomes dull. If teacher’s continue to teach this “dull” writing, our students will continue to dread writing. Finding my own “voice” in writing has opened new doors as well as enjoyment in writing. I want to be able to share that with all my students so they can become life-long writers, not just assignment “doers.”