I'm sure I'll have more to say on the subject later, but I've got to get this out there.
My students are in the middle of their final exams. Mine is an essay exam. The prompt this go 'round asks the students to write about one important lesson they have learned this school year and explain its importance.
We're about 25 minutes in and every student is brainstorming, planning, revising.
Now, bear in mind that these students came to Phoenix and 25 minutes in to our first writing assignment had been "done" for about 10 minutes.
Students are looking up words in dictionaries, crossing things out, balling up paper and throwing it away when the words don't come out just right.
Conscious or not, these students have become writers. They have started to care enough about their work to want to get it right. That comes only with a sense of self-worth.
At the beginning of the year, they didn't write because they didn't care, didn't think they could, any "didn't" you can think of.
I am tremendously proud of the writers they have become.