You know, writing is hard work. Teaching writing to students is hard work. Teaching students to add details might be one of the harder concepts to teach. There are ways to teach it--like requiring students have a certain number of details per idea, that can be counterproductive to real writing AND strangle the voice of the writer.
Here are some requirements I heard today:
When teaching expository writing, never let a student use an anecdote; they may slip into narrative
Always require students to have 4 details for each main idea
I require students to use a preview statement.
What if I do not have 4 details to add to my main topic?
What if I have 2 strong details to support that main idea? Should I scrap it?
Is it not a good idea?
What writer ever said that a certain number of details is the magic number? No one.
Some of the best writing is not organized in one specific way however, some of the worst writing might be.
School writing and life writing shouldn't be so different. My daughter tells me that it is. She believes in fact, school writing and life writing are different and they should be.
She texted me, "If we weren't supplied a formula (thesis, example, explanation) then we wouldn't know where to start. The teachers are teaching us how to write about a prompt rather than waiting three hours to get inspiration and cramming in the last hour."
I understand what she is saying, I do. My problem is that she isn't drawing information from her life. She sees inspiration as outside of herself, which makes me sad.