Local inner city students preparing for high school graduation in the not-too-distant future are faced with increasingly rigorous written language standards dictated by the ever-changing educational curriculum trends. It may or may not surprise you that an overwhelming number of urban teens do have not even the slightest clue about how to compose a well-written essay. But what you probably didn't know is that while these students can fall pathetically short in their composition and integration of academic concepts, their verbal storytelling ability is often something to write home about – no pun intended – and given the appropriate tools to get their ideas on paper, they can master scholarly goals once thought to be out of reach.
Written auto-biographical essays, typically assigned by English and literacy lab teachers, can become unexpected safe portals for urban students to begin letting their personal stories be known, maybe even for the first time. How could putting thoughts, ideas, and information into print in this fashion be so vital for academic growth in this socio-economically challenged student population? Can this type of creative writing move these students toward their graduation requirements?
It definitely can and for these kids, it’s really capitalizing on strengths that may lay dormant otherwise. There is an undeniable need to return to a back-to-basics learning approach with inner city students and writing is no exception. Get students to feel cared about, be available to assist with the writing mechanics and they will not only open up to you, but they will begin to accept and cherish the help you are eager to provide while moving toward academic milestones they never dreamed they could achieve!