Tag Archives: guideline

Writing is Embedded

Professional Knowledge for the Teaching of Writing, written by a committee of the NCTE Executive Committee, pinpoints 10 key issues in the effective teaching of writing. Over the next few weeks, we will unpack each one. This week, we will look at:

“Writing is embedded in complex social relationships and their appropriate languages.”

The teaching of writing should assume students will begin with the sort of language with which they are most at home and most fluent in their speech. That language may be a dialect of English, or even a different language altogether. The goal is not to leave students where they are, however, but to move them toward greater flexibility, so that they can write for wider audiences. Read more from NCTE and ReadWriteThink.org about contexts of language.

“Codeswitching: Tools of Language and Culture Transform the Dialectally Diverse Classroom” shows how to affirm and draw on the dialect diversity of students to foster the learning of Standard English. Based on insights from applied linguistics, an elementary teacher and university professor show that when African American students write “My goldfish name is Scaley” or “I have two dog and two cat,” they are not making mistakes in Standard English. Read more in this related text.

Great Expectations is rich in dialogue and in the dialect of the working class and the poor of Victorian England. What does Dickens reveal about his characters using dialect? Read more in “Dialect Detectives: Exploring Dialect in Great Expectations”.

Students explore the idea of “different Englishes” by reading Amy Tan’s “Mother Tongue” and writing literacy narratives about their own use of different language for different audiences and purposes in this lesson plan from ReadWriteThink.org.

Honoring students’ home dialect is a complex task when preparing them to take state writing tests that require the use of Standard English. Working with students who had failed the test and were in danger of not receiving a diploma, the author of “Honoring Dialect and Culture: Pathways to Student Success on High-Stakes Writing Assessments” created a supportive learning environment in which students could develop linguistic and mechanical fluency.

How do you use the NCTE Professional Knowledge for the Teaching of Writing in your classroom?

Writing Grows Out of Many Purposes

Professional Knowledge for the Teaching of Writing, written by a committee of the NCTE Executive Committee, pinpoints 10 key issues in the effective teaching of writing. Over the next few weeks, we will unpack each one. This week, we will look at:

“Writing grows out of many different purposes.”

Writing is not just one thing. It varies in form, structure, and production process according to its audience and purpose. It’s important that our students see the wide range of purposes for which people write, and the forms of writing that arise from those purposes like lab reports, history papers, essay exams, or literary interpretations. Learn more with these resources from NCTE.

Using the Writer’s Notebook in Grades 3-8: A Teacher’s Guide, written by Janet Elliott, provides practical ideas, assignments, and examples of student writing. This book offers a vision of what is possible for young writers—both in writing across the curriculum and in writing workshop.

In a follow up to the May 2009 issue of English Journal, an analysis of the changes in the teaching of writing is detailed. Visits to 260 English, math, social studies, and science classrooms in 20 middle schools and high schools in five states, plus interviews with 220 teachers and administrators, and with 138 students in these schools, and a national survey of 1520 randomly selected teachers are shared in “A Snapshot of Writing Instruction in Middle Schools and High Schools.”

In the final entry in the English Journal column “Innovative Writing Instruction” entitled “When It Happens ‘Across’: Writing as Transformative and Expansive” the author asks the questions: Who teaches and does not teach writing, and why? How can the teaching and doing of writing across the entire curriculum help our students and us better transact within the world? Read the column to learn more.

In Everyday Genres: Writing Assignments across the Disciplines, the author analyzes the common assignments given to writing students in the college classroom, and investigates how new writers and expert readers respond to a variety of types of coursework in different fields. Listen to an interview with author Mary Soliday!

The authors of the College Composition and Communication article “Writing in High School/Writing in College: Research Trends and Future Directions” offers a complex understanding of writing practices at the high school and college level. The researchers are gathered both direct and indirect evidence of how high school and college students and faculty experience writing instruction across the curriculum.

How do you use the NCTE Professional Knowledge for the Teaching of Writing in your classroom?

Professional Knowledge for the Teaching of Writing

The everyday experience of writing in people’s lives has expanded dramatically.

In February 2016, NCTE sunsetted the The Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing. These beliefs were revised and replaced by a new statement Professional Knowledge for the Teaching of Writing.  These principles of writing include:

  • Writing grows out of many purposes.
  • Writing is embedded in complex social relationships and their appropriate languages.
  • Composing occurs in different modalities and technologies.
  • Conventions of finished and edited texts are an important dimension of the relationship between writers and readers.
  • Everyone has the capacity to write; writing can be taught; and teachers can help students become better writers.
  • Writing is a process.
  • Writing is a tool for thinking.
  • Writing has a complex relationship to talk.
  • Writing and reading are related.
  • Assessment of writing involves complex, informed, human judgment.

Over the next few weeks, we will dig deeper to share concrete illustrations of effective classroom practices based on the professional principles that guide effective teaching.