Theory and Practice of Teaching Writing, Spring 2021

Catalog Description: An examination of various methods and programs in teaching writing, including practical experience in responding to writing.

ENG 331 introduces future English Language Arts Teachers to a wide variety of tools that will be useful to select from when they begin teaching writing in their own classrooms. A large portion of this course is dedicated to a review, debate and discussion of current writing theory, particularly from the rhetorical and process-oriented approaches featured in most current research. Students review the work of several theorists, with an eye toward applying those ideas and philosophies in actual classroom practice.

The first half of this course required a lot of reading and consideration of research and theory in the field of writing instruction, becoming familiar with some of the major trends in writing theory, spending time reviewing the literature in the field, and surveying the wealth of materials now available to writing teachers online and in our assigned texts. The second half of the course required teacher candidates to apply more and more of the theory to actual practice, as they worked on responding to and evaluating student writing, and creating their own model lesson plan for a writing classroom.

Learning Outcomes: At the end of this course, students in ENG 331 should be able to:

  • Demonstrate familiarity with recent research and theory in writing instruction
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the STANDARDS you will be required to adhere to in your classrooms. 
  • Recognize and judge how such research may apply to your own teaching
  • Understand the rhetorical basis and processes involved in effective communication
  • Develop and foster a process for writing in your classrooms
  • Be prepared to accommodate and respond to assessment and accountability pressures in writing classrooms
  • Experiment with putting teaching theories into classroom practice
  • Develop a clear sense of goals, philosophies, strengths and preferred strategies as a writing teacher
  • Prepare assignments, lesson plans and materials needed to manage and direct a writing classroom 
  • Respond to student writing with a balanced sense of improvement, encouragement and accountability

We read and worked from the following texts:

  • Inside Out: Strategies for Teaching Writing By Dawn Latta Kirby and Darrent Crovitz (Heinemann, 2012)
  • Everyone Can Write: Essays toward a Hopeful Theory of Writing and Teaching Writing by Peter Elbow (Oxford UP, 2000)