About

The Lekha Way

Lekha in the Mercury News
Lekha in the Mercury News

Lekha Writing Center is committed to developing a generation of children who think beyond the book! We do this by teaching them to write creatively, using a blend of time-tested and newly-developed methods that stir one’s imagination.

All of our instructors are trained in the Lekha Way, a method of writing instruction that is different than traditional writing instruction. In traditional models of writing instruction, the student is viewed as an empty vessel into which the instructor pours knowledge. This model of instruction is product-oriented, which places the value of instruction solely on measurable improvements in writing. Students are taught the different modes of writing, as well as the standard writing conventions. Students, then, demonstrate that they have learned this new knowledge through their writing products (creative pieces or essays), and instructors evaluate the writing to determine if the student has effectively learned to write correctly.

Consequently, this focus on correctness in writing often develops the internal critic in some students and causes them to develop a negative relationship to writing—hating, fearing, or being indifferent to writing—which hinders or stops the writing process. These students will often view writing as a tedious chore, as a test that they have been set-up to fail, or simply as something unimportant. As a result, student will try to avoid writing, will write as little as possible, or will develop writer’s block.

At Lekha, we seek to encourage a student’s relationship to writing to be one that is positive. Our model of instruction is based on Expressivist and Process pedagogies which emphasize student-oriented and process-oriented teaching. As opposed to the tradition model of writing instruction, we believe that the creative work or essay already exists in the students. What this means is that the students’ writing finds root in the students’ own experiences, education, and tacit knowledge of writing. The instructor’s role, then, is to facilitate the expression of the student’s writing, guiding the students as they work and rework a story, a poem, a play, an essay, or a journalistic piece.

The methods we use in our writing instruction are designed to free students from the internal critic. We utilize visualization and verbalization techniques, creative play, illustration, and other low stakes writing activities that help students overcome writer’s block or any fears about writing. We use these methods to guide students through the different steps of the writing process—generating ideas, pre-writing strategies, drafting, and revising. And while we do not emphasize correctness in writing, we do help students to address structural or grammatical issues in the writing, but only after the students have written enough to begin the revision process. At Lekha, we focus on encouraging students to write as much as they can by providing a fun and nonthreatening learning and writing environment.