I recently presented workshops to middle school students, and have to admit, while doing the hands-on activities were fun and a success and what I put the most time into, the greatest level of pride came from the packet of worksheets I wrote on my own for the students. To me, the girls might have thought the sessions were cool and digging in sand (it was on archaeology) was fun, but if they even take a few minutes at home to read the packets, I think they'll find more morsels of knowledge there for their amusement. I felt the worksheets were creative, well-researched and documented, and also, were completely age-appropriate in tone, word choice, and fun factor.
Having said that, however, putting the workshop together made me realize the role writing plays in education, and how, education could benefit from it. Rather, how education can benefit from more of writing, especially when the assignments themselves are made more real-world applicable such as drafting a worksheet for at the office or a workshop, a memo, something other than what did you do for your summer vacation. Writing these packets for workshops is far more pragmatic in my opinion, and opens the door for some really creative work from the students. This thereby creates a benefit from the perspective of the educator who would otherwise be left knowing more about what makes their budding writers tick than where they went on vacation.
In closing, I suppose I have identified one of the goals I believe writing should have in education. The first is to push for more creativity in what is becoming in some regards, a hackneyed and uninspiring world, where time and again, few students go beyond the base level of exploration or go on with an argument other than what was presented in class. There are others, but this post is just a preliminary to see what other ideas or "wish lists" you all have for grade school and/or college education in writing. If you are a teacher/professor, what do you emphasize, and for those who do not teach but contemplate it, do you have any workshop ideas or contest suggestions that could help promulgate more proactive writing education?