In my writing class today, students had an optional journal due, and about half the students turned one in.
It was also revision day, a day for taking the responses from peer editors and working on revising papers. We talked about revision a bit, talked about writing mini-conclusions for paragraphs, using transitions not at the end of paragraphs, but at the beginning of paragraphs, and also about writing conclusions. The journal was, in one sense, a possible rough draft of a conclusion, though they didn't necessarily realize it until we were talking about writing conclusions and one student asked if they could basically use their journal. Yes, I said, that's what it's for. And several of them laughed.
And once again, I told them that the journals for class should help them with assignments in some way or other. Pretty much all the journal assignments feed in, give them practice, or have some building relationship to the larger writing assignment.
I think some of them get it. Tomorrow, I'm going to talk to them about learning to trust the process of education.
That trust, it's really difficult. It's difficult as an instructor to earn the trust, and probably more difficult to give it to an instructor. But if you can build that trust at least somewhat, build a sense that what the instructor is asking the student to do will build skills, is do-able with work, and will contribute to their overall learning, then (I think? I hope?) students will feel like there's more of a partnership, more mentoring rather than judging.
And I'm back to violin lessons again. My teacher suggests I try X. And because I've consciously decided that I trust her teaching, I try X. And by golly, X is hard. But when I get a bit of a handle on X, then it helps me do Y, something more obviously musical, perhaps.
X this week is a D-minor scale. It's a bit hard. But I trust that it will help me when I start playing the D-minor part of the next Suzuki piece.