That being said, my method is far more optional and modularized than I've done in the past. In previous years, all students had to do the same type of brainstorming, outlining, and drafting on paper, and then travel to the computer lab where they would retype their drafts. While this wasn't bad, it was a waste of time for some students. Some would skip a step or two and still be able to write a solid essay. Others would prefer to do the outline first and then brainstorm, or come up with the introduction last. This year, I lay out all my tools and resources online and simply require the students to show some evidence of planning. They have that freedom to decide which method to use...and hopefully they'll learn throughout the year what works best for them.
During my research last year, I read a lot about boredom and how there are some out there who think school is not so much about content, but an exercise in being bored. They argued we all have to do boring things throughout our lives and school teaches you push through that. Aside from sounding like a terrible way to go through life, that sounded completely ridiculous. In fact, I found in my research just the opposite. It's only the work that students care about that's meaningful. During one of my interviews for the dissertation, a student said "my papers have been better this year because I could skip all the boring stuff and actually focus on the work. I know lots of others feel the same way." While some people might thrive with the "boring" steps (and to be fair, when I write, I enjoy the "boring" elements) there's many that do better when they weave the boring into the interesting. It's a subtle shift...but it raises a lot of questions about why we do what we do.