Peter Elbow has influenced my writing and teaching as well as work with other writers for decades. Freewriting and other techniques, such as writing workshop, designed to unlock the writer within have helped me grow as a writer and a writing teacher.
I continually return to Elbow’s work to help sustain writing workshop in my classroom and helping to help my students develop agency as well as become better writers. In fact, I believe re-reading some Elbow over winter break may just help me restructure my writing workshop and get back to the place I want to be with it and help me get out of my students’ way. I think I’ll need to revisit the criterion-based questions in particular to help my students give each other better feedback. Thinking it through from Elbow’s perspective I think I see where I strayed from the path and mucked things up a bit.
I cannot stress enough how much “Writing Without Teachers” has influenced the way that I teach writing and shape my own writing classroom. Elbow has also helped me gain a better understanding of good and bad writing which fits in well with my focus on writing self-efficacy. I rely on Elbow’s methods of freewriting as well as editing but I also love the emphasis that he places on confidence and dealing with anxiety as well as writing to learn.
Elbow’s work has made a tremendous contribution to the writer and writing teacher that I am and continues to shape my growth and development as a writer and teacher.