Tag Archives: position statement

Literate Practices and Social Relationships

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:

“Literate practices are embedded in complicated social relationships.”

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 Beliefs about the Teaching of Writing in your classroom?

Writing and Reading are Related

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:

“Writing and reading are related.”

Research has shown that when students receive writing instruction, their reading fluency and comprehension improve. NCTE provides many resources that emphasize the reading and writing connection.

The NCTE Policy Brief on Reading and Writing across the Curriculum states that “discipline-based instruction in reading and writing enhances student achievement in all subjects … Without strategies for reading course material and opportunities to write thoughtfully about it, students have difficulty mastering concepts. These literacy practices are firmly linked with both thinking and learning.”

Katie Van Sluys, in her book Becoming Writers in the Elementary Classroom: Visions and Decisions, shares ways in which young people have the opportunity to become competent, constantly growing writers who use writing to think, communicate, and pose as well as solve problems.

Nancy Patterson, in a Voices from the Middle article raises the point, “If the whole idea behind English language arts classes is to foster a love of reading and a thirst for human experience and ideas represented through text, then we have to think critically about not only the kinds of reading our students do, but also the kinds of writing they do.” Read more in “Form and Artistry: The Reading/Writing Connection”.

A Snapshot of Writing Instruction in Middle Schools and High Schools” by Applebee and Langer provides a detailed look at schools and data, interviews with teachers and administrators, and a national survey of teachers on the changes in the teaching of writing.

Bob Fecho, author of  Writing in the Dialogical Classroom: Students and Teachers Responding to the Texts of Their Lives, argues that teachers need to develop writing experiences that are reflective across time in order to foster even deeper explorations of subject matter. He creates an ongoing conversation between classroom practice, theory, and research to show how each informs the others.

Designing Writing Assignments by Traci Gardner offers practical ways for teachers to develop assignments that will allow students to express their creativity and grow as writers and thinkers while still addressing the many demands of resource-stretched classrooms.

In Everyday Genres: Writing Assignments across the Disciplines, the author, Mary Soliday, calls on genre theory to analyze the common assignments given to writing students in the college classroom, and to investigate how new writers and expert readers respond to a variety of types of coursework in different fields.

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

Writing and Talk

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:

“Writing has a complex relationship to talk.”

Throughout the developmental process, writers need opportunities to talk about what they are writing about, to rehearse the language of their upcoming texts and run ideas by trusted classmates and colleagues before committing words to paper. Read more from NCTE and ReadWriteThink.org on the strong relationships between talk and writing.

In this excerpt from Wondrous Words: Writers and Writing in the Elementary ClassroomConferring: The Essential Teaching Act” the author shares how she believes conferences are “the essential act” in workshop teaching because of their individualized nature. Because we invite students to do different kinds of things with writing, and because they are at many different places in their experiences as writers, they need different kinds of teaching to support that very individual work.

This strategy guide from ReadWriteThink.org explains how you can employ peer review in your classroom, guiding students as they offer each other constructive feedback to improve their writing and communication skills.

The Student /Teacher Writing Conference: Teaching Kids to Write About What They Know!” a blog post by a Texas teacher shares her “work smarter, not harder” motto.  Her students aren’t simply churning out a bunch of essays, but instead they revisit pieces they previously created with more purpose, just like good writers do.

Writing conferences can be even more beneficial for student writers with the help of the tips in “Reworking Conferencing for More Effective Writing Feedback”.

The Teacher-Student Writing Conference and the Desire for Intimacy” from College English traces the literature on writing conferences throughout decades and makes connections to the present.

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

The Importance of Finished and Edited Texts

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:

“Conventions of finished and edited texts are important to readers and therefore to writers.”

Teachers should be familiar with techniques for teaching editing and encouraging reflective knowledge about editing conventions. The following resources from NCTE and ReadWriteThink.org can help.

Help students make the most of their writing by teaching them about revising and editing, two important parts of the writing process. Once students begin to understand that revising and editing are different but equally important–and that they don’t have to happen at the same time–they are ready to go back over a piece of writing and, with guidance, make it even better!

Editing Checklist for Self- and Peer Editing”, a helpful tool from ReadWriteThink.org, will give students the opportunity to edit their own writing and then observe as their peers edit the same work.

Editing is a powerful tool for writers, but are our methods of teaching it really demonstrating that power for young adolescents? The author, frustrated with students’ inability to edit, works to develop a more effective system and offers a front row seat to “the express-lane edit” in action in his sixth-grade classroom.

Once a piece of writing has been revised and major changes have been made, writers edit to make certain that readers won’t be confused or distracted by unintentional errors. Read on for tips for middle and secondary students so they can begin editing a piece of writing!

Revising Editing” shows how an editing assignment emphasizing punctuation can help students in a first-year writing class discover new ideas and perspectives as part of the revision process.

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

Writing is a Process

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:

“Writing is a process.”

Writing is not just the final, polished draft. Writing involves routines, skills, strategies, and practices, for generating, revising, and editing different kinds of texts. See the following resources from NCTE and ReadWriteThink.org on the process of writing.

While working with younger students, the “Implementing the Writing Process” strategy guide from ReadWriteThink.org explains the writing process and offers practical methods for applying it in your classroom to help students become proficient writers. See the writing process come alive with this visual.

Students sometimes have trouble understanding the difference between the global issues of revision and the local ones of editing. This lesson plan from ReadWriteThink.org first invites students to read several fractured fairy tales. Then, students make a list of the ways the original stories have been revised—changed or altered, not just “corrected”—to begin building a definition of global revision. After students have written a “revised” story of their own, they revise again, focusing more on audience but still paying attention to ideas, organization, and voice. During another session, students look at editing as a way to polish writing, establishing a definition of revision as a multi-level process.

In Strategic Writing: The Writing Process and Beyond in the Secondary English Classroom, Deborah Dean shares her insights as a classroom teacher with a variety of classroom practices, assignments, and lesson plans. Readers will discover innovative ways to teach writing, including sections on inquiry; on drafting with genre, audience, and purpose in mind; and on revising and refining the products of writing.

A resource from College Composition and Communication simple states “Writing itself is a process with many kinds of subprocesses, and even though our writing processes are increasingly based on digital technologies, we still use process as the term describing our making of writing.”

Read all about the writing process with this group of resources collected for the National Day on Writing.

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