What Works in Writing Instruction?

What Works in Writing Instruction?

The expectations for writing instruction have changed significantly in recent years, particularly with the adoption of college- and career-ready standards in most states. Students are expected to write more frequently and to master different types of writing, including argumentative and information writing. While there’s been an uptick in student writing in many classrooms, however, experts question whether teachers have received enough support to fully transition to the demands.

What advice do you have for teachers and education leaders who are looking to improve student proficiency in writing? How has your writing instruction changed over the past few years? What challenges have you faced and how did you address them? What instructional or school-policy shifts have made a difference for you?

(This discussion is part of special report on writing instruction produced with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.)

In teaching writing by using increasingly complex, teacher-created prompts we tend to leave students' actual thoughts and voices out of the process, says Ariel Sacks.


The common core asks for teachers to accommodate more writing quantity and rigor in the same amount of school days. Teacher Sargy Letuchy says this takes some reflection, time, and effort.


Teachers must respond to the differences in how to engage today's youth in writing to develop students' writing skills and their self-perception as writers, teacher Janelle Quintans Bence writes.


Students, particularly high schoolers, are eager for academic and civic arguments. Schools should help them find their place in adult conversations, teacher Casey Olsen writes.


Getting students to revise is even harder than getting them to write. But on the advice of an acclaimed writer and some teaching experts, I've developed a strategy that integrates revision more naturally into students' writing practice.


The opinions expressed in Teaching Ahead: A Roundtable are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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