When someone is considering writing something as long as 10 pages or more of text from the experience of maybe 2 or 4 page long papers, they can become easily overwhelmed with where to start and how they’re going to find enough information to fill the required length. A variety of methods have been devised to help people overcome their initial fear and get started with the writing process. Some suggest starting with general research and others might promote the use of stages or steps in order to get the paper done. The key element of a successful writing process, however, is finding one that suits the individual’s personality, writing style and methods of learning. As a result, in most cases, using one particular writing method may work wonders for a majority of people because of its generality, but may still fail other students because of their unique strategies based upon their individual approach to learning. Despite this, several instructors feel the need to impose a particular process upon their students throughout the course of a semester or year course as a means of standardizing their instruction and with the hope that the method employed will prove useful to their students both in their class and in the future. One teacher, Kim, provides a complete webpage outlining the method she teaches her students, which she calls the timeline approach.Kimberly Steele indicates on her website that she has been a middle school language arts teacher for 16 years and is now a high school language arts teacher, so most of her ideas as presented on her website are geared for students between the ages of roughly 11-18. This is significant to understand as it will have a bearing on the experience of students being introduced to this particular writing method and help to illuminate why the introduction of such techniques is necessary. According to a report by the National Council of Teachers of English, recent studies of the status of writing in the school curriculum also show that too often students are asked to write infrequently and within a narrow range of genres and for limited purposes (1998).
The Timeline Approach to Writing