When I taught a writing seminar recently, I spent the first hour laying out the importance of writing and showing what the goal should be. I emphasized the high cost, need for persistence and patience, and the great reward. People thought the class was wonderful. Maybe it was. But afterward, I wished I had spent more time on the writing examples.
In retrospect, I wonder if my approach wasn’t exactly right. Although I didn’t have as much time as I wanted to step through the how-to instruction sets, the time I did have may have been much more effective because of the foundation built at the beginning.
How important is a strong foundation in helping students grasp what is being taught?