EEC May 12, 2011

EEC = Empower+Encourage+Challenge

The purpose of creating a learning environment is to enhance the opportunities to successfully inculcate ideas and once instilled, earnestly foster their application.  Unimpressed, some years ago, with the experience of attending present-day confrontational, slash’n’burn, or Cuisinart-style poetry critique groups or workshops, I looked for ways to change that dynamic. Experience told me that established as well as beginning poets did not need their poetic efforts micromanaged by their peers or an unsympathetic instructor insisting that the poet’s writing reflect the instructor’s style or style preferences.   The same applies to all other writing disciplines.  It is to this end the concept of EEC was born to empower, encourage and challenge writers to enhance their skills and artisanship while nurturing their creativity.


Empower- invest with power

Goal: to invest writers with a sense of their own [voice] power to create poetry and authorize them to make productive use of that [voice] power.

The first and the most important principle in mentoring a writer is to empower the individual, to literally invest them with power.  This investment comes tacitly as the mentor espouses belief in the writer, acknowledging their value as an expresser of ideas through words.

Once writers are ready to accept this investment by their mentor they will come to take on that belief themselves.   In the strict sense we can only give up our power to others we cannot invest them with our power, so by demonstrating a belief in a writer’s ability that writer will, in time, come to see or value that same view in themselves.  It is at that point when the writer owns that belief in self, that the writer, in fact, invests or crowns himself with that power.

Encourage- inspire with hope, courage, and confidence

Goal: inspire and foster support in writer’s own abilities and stimulate that ability so as to further embolden the writer.


Perhaps as the next principle, (if not the direct next step), to encourage, to inspire a writer with hope, courage and or confidence, is paramount to maintaining the writer’s self-investment; i.e., their own empowerment.  Constant honest encouragement will help ingrain the writer’s self-worth.  This fostering of a positive view of self frees the writer from doubt, which opens the floodgates of personal inspiration.  When able to personally taste, hear, see, feel, and touch inspiration and by extension express it, the writer will come to known no bounds.  The writer will then be stimulated to be a self-sustaining writer.


Challenge-call to engage, to challenge theory and self

Goal: to call the writer to engage in the duel of writer and page, to call into question self-criticism and the synthesis of Rhetoric theory, while confronting the challenge of self by setting personal writing goals…which in turn are supported by EEC.

Each principle builds on the other and none more so than to challenge.   When a writer is sufficiently invested in their own power as a writer, when encouraged out of self-doubt to make use of their power to create written works, the next step by the mentor is to challenge the writer.  To engage the writer to set and meet goals, to find inroads into understanding other writers, other points of view, to study those things in literature and life that will further enhance their writing.  And finally, the mentor should challenge the writer to discern and write about their own concepts, understandings and theories of Rhetoric and Argumentation.  For it is in the discernment and writing about Rhetoric that writers will ultimately understand their personal writing dynamics and therewith will have begun to challenge themselves.

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One Response to “EEC”

  1. Solana DeLamant Says:

    As we have discussed for a number of years, I implement this philosophy in my elementary classroom and in my college classroom. This year I go into a new level with second grade children. As always, I will employ both the philosophy of EEC, but also the teaching techniques of Gifted and Talented. We will write a lot of poems and stories.

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