Writing Mentors: Teaching and Learning

Along with recognizing this year’s Student Ambassadors for their outstanding work in the classroom at the One World Celebration, One World Education will also publish some of the best essays on our website.

Essays selected for publication are accompanied by a Reflection Experience that unpacks the content through reading comprehension exercises, so that other students can learn about the topic through the thoughts and words of their peers.

Over the last couple months, the current Student Ambassadors have met with Writing Mentors from American University to prepare their Argumentative Reflections for publication. Many of the mentors have expressed enthusiasm for the opportunity to work so closely with such passionate and talented writers.

“Working with the students was an eye-opening experience for me,” says Bill Cusick, a freshman at AU. He said, “the topics the students chose, and the ideas they were trying to present, made it evident that these were gifted students.”

Another mentor, Kathy Herland, also a freshman at AU, describes working with the Student Ambassadors as “an enlightening experience that I will always remember fondly.” Despite initial nervousness about the process of working with the students on their writing, Kathy was taken aback by the “messages and insights” expressed in their essays.

She says they “opened my eyes to problems I had never even considered to be possible. To see the world through the eyes of someone who not only had a completely different upbringing, but also a whole new way of experiencing life, was one of the most refreshing experiences of my life.” She even notes that she was inspired to do independent research on the topic so that she could learn even more. It “completely changed my perspective on how I see my city, and it’s apparent image of equality.”

At One World Education, we often talk about the immense value of peer-to-peer learning, and we usually think of this as happening after the Argumentative Reflections are published. However, Kathy made it clear that that learning starts much earlier as she says, “I will always be thankful to [the Student Ambassadors] for showing me a world I never knew existed.” In this way, the cycle of learning is passed in both directions.

What’s more, not only did the students come to these evening sessions, but their parents came as well! Bill shared that working alongside the students’ parents provided the opportunity to explore how they could further “assist their student in future writing assignments,” setting the students up for even greater success as they make their way through secondary school.

Reflecting on his own experience, he notes that “it is important for young writers to have supportive parent figures, ready to both encourage and contribute to the process.” It has been amazing to see such dedication to the success of these middle and high school students.

This really is a team effort, and the support from the teachers, mentors, and parents at the Student Ambassador sessions has made this a special opportunity for the 2016 Student Ambassadors.

Bill sums it up well when he says, “the students of DC schools are ... pools of endless potential, but even the most gifted prodigies require the right tools for success.” Our hope is to provide some of these tools for their future.

Add new comment