Monday, June 04, 2007

Writing Collaboratively

One of the things I am pondering now is how we can teach kids that writing sometimes needs to be done collaboratively in order to communicate to a wide audience. Things like mission/vision statements or group goals or even a position statement that represents a group, rather than an individual.

I say this because our team is heavily involved in doing all of the above together and it is not easy. We all have very different styles and have different ways of expressing how we feel - yet someone we need to create a document that express us all. Making choices between saying "valuable contribution" or "invaluable resource." Deciding whether we like (or can live with) bullets versus a paragraph. Agreeing on a common definition for collaboration - one that is shared by the writers and the readers.

We have a handle on how to teach writers to express themselves and find their voice - but what about those very real situations where their individual voice needs to meld into a collective one?


Jennifer said...

All I need to know about early American History, I learned from the musical 1776. There is a great scene where Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and perhaps some guy from New York are negotiating the language of the Declaration. Perhaps because I saw it when I was an impressionable teenager but I will always think of Ben Franklin signing about the noble turkey when I think of collaborative writing. I'm curious what those men would have said writing about their visioning statement as a collective. Again, if the movie and my memory are to be believed, certain words appear because Thomas Jefferson was taller or sang louder than the others. Do our voices truly merge or do one or two end up dominating?

Jennifer said...

ETA: Franklin wasn't signing, he was singing and I need to learn to proof my comments more carefully. Apparently, I didn't learn from Ms. Clinton's mistake!