This course provides students with a point of entry into the complex work of writing and writing instruction. Students will read and examine contemporary theories about writing, the rhetorical tradition as a historical framework for current issues in writing instruction, and various issues facing writing teachers and researchers today. These issues include such questions as: How do contemporary children and youth develop as writers? What is the significance of multimodality for writing and writing instruction? What does and should writing instruction involve? What aspects of classroom environments are important in supporting students as they learn to write? What is the place of writing in and beyond the language arts curriculum? What do writing teachers need to know about standardization and dialect? What is the significance of writing and writing instruction in a culturally and linguistically diverse society? What challenges face writing teachers at the beginning of the 21st century?
As this list of questions may suggest, I will take a broad view of writing in this class, not limiting our inquiry to school-based definitions, genres, and practices alone. We will also consider writing across the lifespan, from the early pre-school years to the post-secondary and adult years, since the majority of recent research on composition and writing instruction has focused on post-secondary and adult participants. This class will place post-secondary writing research, along with a growing body of research on the writing of children and youth, into conversation with our own particular experiences and interests in K-12 schooling and students.
I am assuming that since this is an elective course, you all have various motivations for choosing to take it. Consequently, you will identify a substantive project (a piece of writing) through which to pursue your interests as the semester unfolds. Several other assignments will allow you to explore the course content in greater depth.
Dyson, A. Haas. (2003). The brothers and sisters learn to write. New York: Teachers College
Lindemann, E. (2001). A rhetoric for writing teachers. New York: Oxford University Press.
I will at times refer to texts beyond the required course readings: I have tried to identify where these texts fit into the syllabus by noting “Recommended readings” for most class periods. An * before the citation indicates highly recommended readings. You will find these sources listed with full references on the Recommended Reading List (see Appendix) which should provide a useful springboard for reading more deeply about topics of special interest to you.
1. Three “conversation starters” (10%): rotating responsibility requiring you to write a brief and thought-provoking response or musing about one of our readings, typed and photocopied to distribute to all members of the class. You will choose 2 readings about which to write a conversation starter and everyone will write one in preparation for Anne Dyson’s class visit on 4/26 (aim for 250 words or less: definitely limit yourself to one side of a single page).
2. Teaching presentation on “Special Topics” (20%): This assignment focuses on instructional materials, assignments, and/or assessments of writing that one is likely to see in K-12 classrooms. You will prepare a 45-minute presentation to teach the class about a chosen special topic in writing instruction with a group of your colleagues.
3. A style exercise (10%), DUE 3/15: This written assignment offers you to put into practice a rhetorical understanding of writing. More detail forthcoming.
4. A piece of writing for a Final Project (50%)
a) A “practice of writing instruction” portfolio. This recommended option will allow you to design an innovative unit of writing instruction and to document student learning and engagement as your unit unfolds. A framework for expectations as well as some instructional scaffolding in support of this project will be provided throughout the semester, unlike the other options. Course areas you may choose among – organized under thematic headings -- include:
b) An originally researched essay or article about a problem in writing or writing instruction that has captured your interest. I encourage those who choose this option to write toward publication in a journal such as Language Arts
, English Journal
, The Michigan English Teacher
or The Language Arts Journal of Michigan.
c) A writing curriculum and/or instructional materials to be used in your school or classroom
d) A manual about writing for your students to use
5. Writing group reflection paper (10%). This 2-paged paper (single-spaced, approximately 1000 words) will reflect on your semester-long participation in a writing group. You may attach appendices to supplement your discussion in the paper. In this group, you are encouraged to: a) set writing goals, b) report regularly on how these goals are progressing, c) request and receive specific feedback on your writing from other group members (you will be expected to arrange to provide drafts for group members to read, either through emailing or photocopying), d) talk through your developing ideas, interpretations, and plans for writing, e) provide supportive and critical feedback on the writing work of your colleagues. You will have 5-10 minutes per week to meet with your group at the beginning of each class, and you will also be assigned to meet five times during the semester for longer periods of time both in and out of class.
1. Attendance. Attendance and punctuality is required. You may miss one class without penalty. Beyond that, your grade will be reduced by one letter for each absence. Tardies count as half an absence. Please email or telephone me in advance if you know you will need to miss a class.
2. Assignments. Hard copies of all assignments must be turned in on the due date. In case of emergency, you should contact me in writing at least 24 hours in advance to request an extension. Without an agreement in advance, I do not accept late work.
3. Readings. You are expected to have completed the required readings listed for each class meeting. To facilitate stimulating and meaningful class discussions, you are further expected to come prepared with two or three talking points for each reading.
1/11 Introduction, Method, Student Interests, Policies, Why writing?
Readings: Recommended: Berthoff, 1982 (“Method”); Pressley & Juzwik, in press;
National Commission on Writing, 2003.
Part I: Cognitition & the Writing Process
1/18 Conceptualizing Writing and the Writing Process
Questions & Issues: What is writing? What is the relationship among composing, thought, and
language (Berthoff’s “curioius triangle”)? What is involved in conceptualizing writing as “process”? What have been the practical implications and critiques of process approaches to teaching writing?
Readings: Berthoff, Theory and practice
Lindemann, ch 1-3
Graves, An examination of the writing processes of seven year old children
Applebee, 1986; Atwell,1998; Emig, 1971
1/25 Writing and thinking
Questions & Issues: What facets define the relationship between writing and thinking? How
does writing mediate thinking? How does thinking mediate writing? What instructional practices and contexts flow from & complicate these insights?
Readings: Hayes, A new framework for understanding cognition and affect in writing
Wong & Berninger, Cognitive processes of teachers in implementing composition
research in elementary, middle, and high school
Recommended: Flower & Hayes, 1981 (in Villanueva, 1997); Hayes & Flower,
1980; Olson, 1995 (In Cushman et al., 2001), *Vygotsky, 1968 (ch 5)
Assignments: Special Topics presentation: Cognitive Strategies instruction
DUE: Final Project Proposal (one copy for me, one for each member of
your writing group)
Activity: Writing Group Meeting #1
Part II: Multimodality and Writing
2/1 Oral and written language
Questions/Issues: How has the relationship between spoken and written language been
understood in basic research on literacy? What are the pedagogical implications of this literacy/orality “debate”? What issues are raised for writing teachers by emerging understandings of “multimodality”?
Readings: Olson, From Utterance to Text
Heath, Protean shapes in literacy events
Shaughnessy, Diving in: An introduction to basic writing
Assignment: Special Topics presentation: Daily oral language
2/8 No Class: “Writing research in the Making,” Conference at University of
California-Santa Barbara (It may be too late to get a reasonable plane fare, but I do recommend that you consider attending this conference if you are interested in learning more about the “state of the field” in writing research and education!)
Writing Group Meeting #2 out of class time, to discuss, plan, and provide feedback on developing final projects. You may want to go ahead and meet during the scheduled class time: you should plan for an ample amount of time (approximately the length of a full class meeting – enough to allow 30-45 minutes to discuss each person’s work).
2/15 Reading and writing; Multiliteracies
Questions/Issues: How are the practices of reading and writing related to one another? What
are “multiliteracies” and what issues does this conceptualization raise for teachers of writing? How does writing figure into social contexts in and beyond the classroom?
Readings: Dyson, Introduction & ch 1
New London Group, A pedagogy of multiliteracies
Brandt, The sacred and the profane: Reading versus writing in popular
Assignment: Special topics presentation: Writing workshop
Part III: Identity and Writing
2/22 Writing and Development; Writing in and out of school
Questions/Issues: What is the relationship between writing and development? How can writing
development be tracked? What do children’s out-of-school experiences with print text have to do with their writing practices and development in school? What roles does culture play in writing and writing development?
Readings: Dyson, ch 2 & 3
Purcell-Gates, Other people’s words
Recommended: Hull & Schultz, 2002
Activities: Mid-course evaluation
Writing Group Meeting #3
Part IV: Writing and Instruction
3/1 Rhetoric and writing instruction
Questions/Issues: What is rhetoric and what does it have to do with writing and writing
instruction? What place could rhetorical theory and practice have in K-12 education?
Readings: Lindemann, ch 4
Lunsford & Glenn, Rhetorical theory and the teaching of writing
Juzwik, A vision of the possible: How adolescents built a rhetoric about
*Burke, 1968; Corbett & Connor, 1999; Fulkerson, 1996
3/7-3/11 No Class: Spring Break
3/15 Technology & Writing Instruction (Class meeting in 133 Erickson)
Questions/Issues: How are technological developments changing the face of writing and
writing instruction? What are teachers to do in times of rapidly shifting technologies of writing?
Readings: Lindemann, ch 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 (skim these chapters enough to familiarize
yourself with their contents)
Lindemann, ch 16
Additional reading TBA
Assignments: Special Topics Presentation: The Big 6
DUE: Style Exercise
Activity: Visiting writing researcher: Jennifer C. Stone, University of Washington
3/22 Genre and Writing Instruction; Assessing, responding to, & evaluating writing
Questions/Issues: What is “genre”? How can “genre-based” approaches shape writing
instruction and assessment? What are the differences among assessing, responding to, and evaluating students’ writing?
Readings: Cooper, What we know about genres and how it can help us assign and
Cope & Kalantzis, Introduction: How a genre approach to writing can transform
the way writing is taught.
Lindemann, ch 14
Recommended: Bakhtin, 1986; Sommers, 1982
Assignment: Special Topics Presentation: Six Traits of Writing
Part V: Writing and Curriculum
3/29 Writing in the Language Arts Curriculum; Talk and writing in
Questions/Issues: What is the place of writing at various points in the K-12 curriculum? How
might current developments (e.g., a “writing” section on the ACT and SAT tests) influence writing in the K-12 curriculum? What is the relationship between talk and writing in classroom spaces?
Readings: Dyson, ch 4
Britton, Spectator role and the beginnings of writing
Recommended: Britton, 1969; Cazden, 2001; Nystrand, 1982.
Activity: Writing Group Meeting #4
Assignment: DUE: Draft of Final Project or Part I of Portfolio
4/5 Writing across the curriculum & writing to learn; Collaboration and
Questions/Issues: What are some of the characteristics of the “writing to learn” movement?
What is the promise of writing to learn, and what does research show about this promise?
Readings: Dyson, ch 5, 6
Emig, Writing as a mode of learning
Ede & Lunsford, New beginnings
Part VI: Writing education in a diverse society
4/12 No Class: American Educational Research Association annual meeting in
Writing Group Meeting #5 outside of class (you are welcome to go ahead and meet during the scheduled class time), to provide critical feedback on what should by now be the final push in the writing for your final projects. As before, you should meet for an ample amount of time (approximately the length of a full class meeting – enough to allow 30-45 minutes to discuss each person’s work).
4/19 Standardization, dialect, and writing education
Questions/Issues: How do processes of language standardization work? What is the importance
of dialect in teaching writing? What problems are raised for teachers by linguistically rich and complex understandings of dialect and standardization processes?
Readings: Dyson, ch 7 & 8
Students’ right to their own language (available through a search using the title on
NCTE’s web site, http://www.ncte.org/
Delpit, Skills and other dilemmas of a progressive black educator
Recommended: Baugh, 1999; *Hillocks & Smith, 2001, Lindemann, ch 5
Assignment: DUE: Writing group reflection paper
4/26 Writing, recontextualization, and the complex social negotiations of children
learning to write
Activities: A book discussion about The brothers and sisters learn to write with
writing researcher and scholar, Anne Haas Dyson
Assignment: DUE: Final Project, Conversation starter
5/3 Final Class Meeting: Location TBA
Recommended Readings on Writing and Writing Education
Applebee, A. N. (1986). Problems in process approaches: Toward a reconceptualization
of process instruction. In A. R. Petrosky & D. Bartholomae (Eds.), The teaching of writing, Eighty-fifth yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education (pp. 95-113). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Applebee, A. N. (1996) Curriculum as conversation. Chicago: University of Chicago
Atwell, N. (1998). In the middle: New understanding about writing, reading, and
Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook.
Bakthin, M. M. (1986). Speech genres and other late essays. Austin: University of
Baugh, J. (1999). Out of the mouths of slaves: African American language and
Austin: University of Texas Press.
Berthoff, A. (1981). The making of meaning: Metaphors, models, and maxims for
writing teachers. Upper Montclair
, NJ: Boynton/Cook.
Brandt, D. (2001). Literacy in American lives. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University
Britton, J. (1990). Language and learning: The importance of speech in children’s
. London: Penguin. (Original work published 1970).
Burke, K. (1966). Terministic screens. In Language as symbolic action: Essays on life,
literature, and method
(pp. 44-62). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Calkins, L. (1986). The art of teaching writing. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Canagarajah, S. (1999). Resisting linguistic imperialism in the teaching of English.
Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Cazden, C. (2001). Classroom discourse: The language of teaching and learning.
Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Christian, S. (1997). Exchanging lives: Middle school writers online. Urbana, IL:
National Council of Teachers of English Press.
Coe, R., Lingard, L, & Teslenko, T. (Eds.), (2002). The rhetoric & ideology of
genre. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press
Cooper, C. R. & Odell, L., (Eds.). (1999). Evaluating writing: The role of teachers’ knowledge
about text, learning, and culture.
Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.
Cope, B. & M. Kalantzis (Eds.). (1993). The powers of literacy: A genre approach to
Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.
Corbett, E. P. J. & Connors, R. (1999). Classical rhetoric for the modern student. New
York: Oxford University Press.
Cushman, E., E. R. Kintgen, B. M. Kroll, & M. Rose (Eds.). (2001). Literacy: A critical
Delpit, L. (1995). Other people’s children: Cultural conflict in the classroom. New
York: New Press.
Dyson, A. Haas. (1993). Social worlds of children learning to write. New York:
Teachers College Press.
Emig, J. (1971). The composing processes of twelfth graders. Urbana, IL: National
Council of Teachers of English.
Fulkerson, R. (1996). Teaching the argument in writing. Urbana, IL: NCTE.
Graves, D. H. (1983). Writing: Teachers and children at work.
Haas, C. (1996). Writing technology: Studies on the materiality of literacy. Mahwah, NJ:
Hayes, J. R. & Flower, L. S. (1980). Identifying the organization of writing processes.
In L. W. Gregg & E. R. Steinberg (Eds.), Cognitive processes in writing (pp. 3-30). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum & Associates.
Hillocks, G. Jr., & Smith, M. W. (2001). Grammars and literacy learning. In V.
Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching, Fourth edition (pp. 721-737). Washington DC: American Educational Research Association.
Hull, G. & Schultz, K. (eds.). (2002). School's out! Bridging out-of-school literacies
with classroom practice. New York: Teachers College Press.
Moffett, J. (1968). Teaching the universe of discourse. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
Murphy, J. (ed.) (2001). A short history of writing instruction from ancient Greece to
modern America. 2nd ed. Davis, CA: Hermagorus.
National Commission on Writing in America’s Schools and Colleges (2003). The
neglected R: The need for a writing revolution.
New York: College Entrance Examination Board. Available on-line: http://www.writingcommission.org/prod_downloads/writingcom/neglectedr.pdf
Nystrand, M. (Ed.). (1982). What writers know: The language, process, and structure
of written discourse.
New York: Academic.
Pressley, G. M. & Juzwik, M. M. (in press). Writing. In Pressley, G. M., Reading
instruction that works: A case for balanced teaching
ed. New York: Guilford.
Schmandt-Besserat, D. (1996). How writing came about. Austin: University of Texas Press.
Shaughnessy, M. (1977). Errors and expectations. New York: Oxford University Press.
Sommers, N. (1982). Responding to student writers. College Composition and
, 33, 148-56.
Sperling, M. (1996). Revisiting the writing-speaking connections: Challenges for
research on writing and writing instruction. Review of Educational Research, 66, 53-86.
Villanueva, V., (Ed.). (1997). Cross-Talk in comp theory: A reader. Urbana, IL:
National Council of Teachers of English.
Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society. Harvard University Press.
Vygotsky, L. (1986). Thought and language. MIT Press.
Weaver, C. (1996). Teaching grammar in context. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Professional Journals: College Composition and Communication, English Education, English Journal, Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, Journal of Literacy Research, Language Arts, Linguistics and Education, Research in the Teaching of English, Voices from the Middle, Written Communication
Required Readings: Course Reader for TE 848
(In order of assignment and with a few strongly recommended readings also included*)
Berthoff, A. (1982). Theory and practice. In The making of meaning (pp. 14-60).
Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Graves, D. H. (1975). An examination of the writing processes of seven year old
children. Research in the Teaching of English 9 (3), 227-241.
Hayes, J. (1996). A new framework for understanding cognition and affect in writing.
In M. Levy & S. Ransdell (Eds.), The science of writing: Theories, methods, individual differences, and applications (pp. 1-27). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Wong, B. Y. L. & Berninger, V. W. (2004). Cognitive processes of teachers in
implementing composition research in elementary, middle, and high school classrooms. In C. A. Stone, E. R. Silliman, B. J. Ehren, & K. Apel (Eds.), Handbook of language and literacy: Development and disorders (pp. 600-624). New York: Guilford.
Olson, D. R. (1977). From utterance to text: The bias of language in speech and writing.
Harvard Educational Review
47 (3) 257-281.
Heath, S. B. (2001). Protean shapes in literacy events: Ever-shifting oral and literate
traditions. In Cushman, E., Kintgen, E. R., Kroll, B. M., & Rose, M. (Eds.) Literacy: A critical sourcebook (443-466). Boston: Bedford St. Martins. (Original published 1982).
Shaughnessy, M. (1997) Diving in: An introduction to basic writing. In Villanueva, V.
(Ed.) Cross-talk in comp theory: A reader (pp. 289-295). Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English. (Original published 1976).
The New London Group (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social
futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66, pp 60-92.
Brandt, D. (2001). The sacred and the profane: Reading versus writing in popular
Memory. In Literacy in American lives (pp. 146-168). Cambridge, UK:
Cambridge University Press.
Purcell-Gates, V. (2001). A world without print. In Cushman, E., Kintgen, E. R., Kroll,
B. M., & Rose, M. (Eds.) Literacy: A critical sourcebook (402-417). Boston: Bedford St. Martins. (Original published 1997).
Lunsford, A. & Glenn, C. (1990). Rhetorical theory and the teaching of writing. In
Hawisher, G. E. & A. Soter (Eds.) On literacy and its teaching: Issues in English education
(pp. 174-189). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
Juzwik, M. M. (1999). A vision of the possible: How adolescents built a rhetoric about
place. Ohio Journal of the English Language Arts 40 (1), pp. 46-58.
*Burke, K. (1966). Terministic screens. In Language as symbolic action: Essays on life,
literature, and method
(pp. 44-62). Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
Cope, B. & M. Kalantzis. (1993). Introduction: How a genre approach to literacy can
transform the way writing is taught. In Cope, B. & M. Kalantzis (Eds.). The powers of literacy: A genre approach to teaching writing 1-21. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.
Cooper, C. R. (1999). What we know about genres and how it can help us assign and
evaluate writing. In Cooper, C. R. & Odell, L., (Eds.), Evaluating writing: The role of teachers’ knowledge about text, learning, and culture (pp. 23-52). Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English.
Britton, J. (1997). Spectator role and the beginnings of writing. In Villanueva, V.
(Ed.) Cross-talk in comp theory: A reader (pp. 129-151). Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English. (Original published 1982).
*Britton, J. (1969). Talking to learn. In D. Barnes (Ed), Language, the learner, and the
school. London: Penguin.
Emig, J. (1977). Writing as a mode of learning. College Composition and
Ede, L. & Lunsford, A. (1990). New Beginnings. In Singular Texts/Plural Authors:
Perspectives on Collaborative Writing (pp. 130-143).
Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press.
Students’ right to their own language.
(1974). College Composition and Communication
25, 1-18. (available through a search using the title on NCTE’s web site, http://www.ncte.org/)
Delpit, L. (1995). Skills and other dilemmas of a progressive black educator. In Other
people’s children: Cultural conflict in the classroom (pp. 11-20). New York: New Press. (Original published 1986).
*Hillocks, G. Jr., & Smith, M. W. (2001). Grammars and literacy learning. In V.
Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of research on teaching,
Fourth edition (pp. 721-737). Washington DC: American Educational Research Association.