Tag Archives: position statement

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.

Summer Reading about Writing

writingThe NCTE Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing were so well-received that NCTE published a series of books around them. Learn more about the Principles in Practice “Writing in Today’s Classrooms” Strand.

Writing in the Dialogical Classroom: Students and Teachers Responding to the Texts of Their Lives focuses on adolescent learners. The author, Bob Fecho, argues that teachers need to develop writing experiences that are reflective across time in order to foster even deeper explorations of subject matter. Therefore, in the dialogical classroom, students use writing to explore who they are becoming and how they relate to the larger culture around them. Fecho stresses the value of reading and writing as tools for learning and making meaning, not just things to be tested on. The book, with its inquiry-based focus, offers dialogical writing projects of various lengths, for different purposes, with students of varying ability levels.

In Becoming Writers in the Elementary Classroom: Visions and Decisions author Katie Van Sluys illustrates how teachers of elementary-age writers bring their beliefs about teaching and learning to life—through the visions they hold for writers, writing, and the world, as well as through the decisions they make every day in their classrooms. Through real classroom examples and teacher and student reflections, she helps us understand how the decisions that both we and our students make today can help them not only learn to write well but also to use writing to create the world they want to live in.

In Writing Instruction in the Culturally Relevant Classroom authors Maisha T. Winn and Latrise Johnson suggest that culturally relevant pedagogy can help reach all of our students—especially those who have been ignored and underserved in America’s classrooms. Although it certainly includes inviting in the voices of those who are generally overlooked in the texts and curricula of US schools, culturally relevant teaching also means recognizing and celebrating those students who show up to our classrooms daily, welcoming their voices, demanding their reflection, and encouraging them toward self-discovery.

Traci Gardner also lists the NCTE Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing as an appendix in her text Designing Writing Assignments. This book practical tips, starting points, and a companion website to help secondary and college teachers design effective writing assignments.

How do you use the NCTE Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing in your classroom?

Composing in Multiple Media

writingThe NCTE Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing, written by the Writing Study Group of the NCTE Executive Committee, pinpoints 11 key issues in the effective teaching of writing. Over the next few weeks, we will unpack each one. This week, we will look at:

“Composing occurs in different modalities and technologies.”

Writing instruction must accommodate the explosion in technology from the world around us. These resources from NCTE and ReadWriteThink.org demonstrate teaching ideas involving multiple media.

The Interactive Potential of Multiple Media: A New Look at Inquiry Projects” presents the inquiry and literacy processes of two fifth-grade students as they created a digital video about African American history for a school project. The interaction of the various media in the project (books, writing notebooks, the Web, digital video) created a synergy that fostered and perpetuated the students’ literacy and inquiry processes.

In “Short Story Fair: Responding to Short Stories in Multiple Media and Genres”, students read short stories and create presentations in multiple media to share in a Short Story Fair. At the fair, students explore and respond to the displays.

In “Approaching Young Adult Literature through Multiple Literacies” the authors demonstrate how current understandings of literacy learning can be integrated with traditional teaching strategies in the study of literature.

The “Teaching with Technology” strategy guide series from ReadWriteThink.org, provides examples of effective literacy teaching and learning strategies and offer a wealth of related resources to help sharpen instruction and integrate technology.

Digitizing Craft: Creative Writing Studies and New Media: A Proposal” identifies and examines a digital arm of creative writing studies and organizes that proposal into four categories through which to theorize the “craft” of creative production.

How do you use the NCTE Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing in your classroom?