The Revolution Has Begun<br />High School Teachers, Take Notice:<br />Maggie Cotto<br />ENC 6712<br />December 6, 2009<br />
Purpose of this Presentation:<br /><ul><li>To provide busy high school teachers with current information regarding writing instruction and education policies.
To suggest new instructional goals proven to increase learning proficiency in writing skills.
To provide teachers with resources and guidance to achieve these goals.</li></li></ul><li>Recent Legislation related to Writing Instruction:<br /><ul><li>2002: College Board establishes the National Commission on Writing in America’s Schools and Colleges.
2003: This Commission publishes a report calling for a revolution in writing instruction entitled “The Neglected ‘R’: The Need for a Writing Revolution.”
February, 2009: President Obama signs a stimulus law that “requires states receiving stabilization money to work to improve courses and tests so that high school graduates can succeed without remedial classes.”
April, 2009: Florida Department of Education notifies schools of Senate Bill 1908 implementing college readiness testing in high school, along with college readiness and college success prep courses.</li></li></ul><li>Why this Call for a Revolution?<br /><ul><li>Nationwide decline in writing scores.
Secondary schools found to neglect significant writing instruction.
Wide gap between secondary and post-secondary writing instruction.
New research and theories in the field of writing instruction.
Increase in standardized testing, which complicates classroom objectives.
Advances in technology offering new tools for communication and composition.</li></li></ul><li>Statistics<br /><ul><li>Most fourth-grade students spend less than three hours a week writing, which is approximately 15 percent of the time they spend watching television.
Nearly 66 percent of high school seniors do not write a three-page paper as often as once a month for their English teachers.</li></li></ul><li>Statistics <br /><ul><li>75 percent of seniors never receive a writing assignment in history or social studies.
the senior research project has become an educational curiosity, something rarely assigned because teachers do not have time to correct such projects. </li></li></ul><li>Statistics<br /><ul><li>At grades 4, 8, and 12, about one student in five produces completely unsatisfactory prose, about 50 percent meet "basic" requirements, and only one in five can be called "proficient.”
By the first year of college, more than 50 percent of the freshman class are unable to produce papers relatively free of language errors or to analyze arguments or synthesize information.</li></li></ul><li>Conclusions<br />These statistics demonstrate that schools across the nation are in drastic need of changing their writing instruction policies and techniques. The writing commission states clearly:<br />“Although there is much good work taking place in our classrooms, the quality of writing must be improved if students are to succeed in college and in life.” <br />
The Strategy of the Revolution--According to the National Commission on Writing<br />1. A Writing Agenda for the Nation<br /><ul><li>All states’ standards ought to include a comprehensive national writing policy, which would require schools to double the current amount of time spent writing in all of the students’ subject areas.
New education students would take a course in writing theory and practice before obtaining a teaching certificate.
Congress would provide the financial resources necessary for the additional time and personnel required to make writing a centerpiece in the curriculum. </li></li></ul><li>The Strategy of the Revolution--According to the National Commission on Writing<br />2. Assessment Redesign<br /><ul><li>Assessment of writing competence must be fair and authentic. In other words, it should be thoughtful and not performed in an “assembly line” fashion.
Standards and curriculums must be aligned across content, so that all teachers are responsible for writing instruction.
Assessments should provide students with adequate time to write and should require students to actually create a piece of prose.
Best practices in assessments should be more widely replicated.</li></li></ul><li>Best Practices<br /><ul><li>Writing assessment should place priority on the improvement of teaching and learning.</li></ul>i.e. Teachers, use early assessments to analyze students’ strengths and weaknesses and THEN design later assessments that focus on strengthening areas of weakness.<br />This means that your assessments will be DIFFERENT each time they are administered.<br />
Best Practices<br /><ul><li>Writing assessment should be based on continuous conversations with as many stakeholders as possible.</li></ul>Talk to your students about their assessment results, talk to their parents, talk to their other teachers.<br /><ul><li>Writing assessment should include appropriate input from and information and feedback for students.</li></ul>Discuss assessment prompts and criteria THOROUGHLY with students; allow them to ask questions and share ideas, provide suggestions and model texts. Discuss their work with them afterwards. <br />
Best Practices<br /><ul><li>Writing assessment should use multiple measures and engage multiple perspectives to make decisions that improve teaching and learning.</li></ul>Assign different types of assessments, with different time limits, administered by different teachers, addressing different subjects.<br /><ul><li>Writing assessment should recognize diversity in language.</li></ul>Recognize and incorporate the multiple values and ways of expressing knowledge by students present in the classroom and local communities.<br />
Recent Research in Writing Pedagogy<br />Scholars have recently revisited the field of writing instruction and have come to view writing in fresh terms, leading to changes in college writing curricula.<br />Now, this scholarship and these changes need to reach the high school level.<br />
Current Theories of Writing<br />Writing is a SOCIAL PRACTICE<br /><ul><li>When students understand that writing functions within various social contexts, and that the writing itself varies respectively, they can then learn to transfer skills and adapt to different writing situations better than practicing the act of writing as an isolated task separate from the environment in which it is accomplished.
The social dimension of the activity of writing involves the relationship between the writer and the audience, as well as the socially-constructed artifacts that the writer makes use of during the activity of writing.
The act of writing is not social just because of its communicative purpose… it is also social because it is a social artifact and is carried out in a social setting.</li></li></ul><li>Current Theories of Writing<br />Writing is COGNITIVE<br />Writing to Learn- is a pedagogical approach that values writing as a method of learning.<br /><ul><li> When students write reactions to information received in class or in reading, they often comprehend and retain the information better. Writing can also help students work through confusing new ideas and apply what they learn to their own lives and interests. Also, because students write more frequently, they become more comfortable with writing and are able to maintain or even improve upon their writing skills.
WTL assignments are typically short and informal and can be performed either in or out of class. Examples include writing and reading journals, summaries, response papers, learning logs, problem analyses, and more. </li></li></ul><li>Current Theories of Writing<br />Writing is CONTEXTUAL<br />Writing in the Disciplines - recognizes that each discipline has its own unique language conventions, format, and structure.<br /><ul><li>The style, organization, and format that is acceptable in one discipline may not be at all acceptable in another.
To participate successfully in the academic discourse of their community, students must be taught discipline-specific conventions and should practice using these conventions.
Some common WID assignments are reports, literature reviews, project proposals, and lab reports. WID assignments can also be combined with WTL activities to help students think through key concepts, ideas, and language of in their disciplines.</li></li></ul><li>Writing across the Curriculum<br />WAC – is based on the above theories, which acknowledge writing as social, cognitive, and contextual.<br /><ul><li>WAC-has been replacing traditional First Year Composition courses in colleges and universities across the nation.
WAC- is based on the pedagogical approaches of Writing to Learn and Writing in the Disciplines.</li></li></ul><li>Advances in Technology<br />With an infinity of digital resources available, students are learning to compose and communicate through various media, some containing written, typed, or “texted” messages, while others utilize other media such as sound, image, and video. <br /><ul><li>Sarah Beck says “it cannot be denied that the nature of writing is undergoing rapid and dramatic changes in the present multimodal age.” </li></ul>This means that students expect to write and learn in environments made up of multiple modes of communication.<br />
Teachers’ Views of Writing Instruction in the Digital Age<br /><ul><li>Karl Fisch, director of technology at Arapahoe High School in Centennial, Colorado, [says] being literate ... means using critical thinking skills to analyze, critique, and evaluate information – essential skills in an information-abundant society.
Dawn Hogue, who teaches a class called Cyber-English in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, [states that] the key for students today... is the “authenticity” of the audience – in other words, creating for and sharing with someone other than the teacher. “Students are reaching literally global audiences online,” she explains. “Why would they be motivated to write an essay for only one person, who is only reading it because it is his or her job?” </li></li></ul><li>Some Digital Composition Projects:<br />Networked Writing Environments<br />In a wiki-based composition project, where students can log-on and access each other’s writings, comment, add to, and even grade them, their own writing improves:<br /><ul><li>Students produce better work in a peer-reviewed environment.
Grammar and mechanics are contextualized and there is greater motivation to create error-free work.
Students read each other's work, which forces them to consider their arguments carefully in order to avoid repeating someone else's point.</li></li></ul><li>Some Digital Composition Projects:<br />Digital Storytelling<br />Digital Storytelling is the practice of using computer-based tools to tell stories.<br /><ul><li> As with traditional storytelling, most digital stories focus on a specific topic and contain a particular point of view. However, digital stories usually contain some mixture of computer-based images, text, recorded audio narration, video clips and/or music.
Digital stories can vary in length, but most of the stories used in education typically last between two and ten minutes.
The topics that are used in Digital Storytelling range from personal tales to the recounting of historical events, from exploring life in one's own community to the search for life in other corners of the universe.</li></li></ul><li>Some Digital Composition Projects:<br /><ul><li>Create a digital book review of an independently read book in the form of PowerPoint or video to present in class.
Perform Internet research to locate and relate current news stories to short story plots and conflicts.
Design, create and use web texts, blogs, online writing portfolios, audio essays, and other digital compositions.
Experiment with different genres of digital representation (e.g., documentary, literacy autobiography, interview) and primary resources (e.g., letters, photographs, maps, sound recordings.</li></li></ul><li>Preparing Students for College<br />High School Graduates are Unprepared<br /><ul><li>60 percent of students enrolling at two-year colleges, and 20 percent to 30 percent at four-year colleges, take remedial courses.
More than a million college freshmen across the nation must take remedial courses each year, and many drop out before getting a degree.
We need to “better align what we expect somebody to be able to do to graduate high school with what we expect them to do in college” (Dillon).</li></li></ul><li>Suggestions for Narrowing the Gap<br /><ul><li>Explain and discuss the social, cognitive, and textual aspects of writing with your students.
Allow them to practice analytical writing in various content areas.
Align high school classroom objectives with college composition areas of focus, including:
The use of argument in compositions, including a claim, evidence, and acknowledgement of objections.
Interpretation of assignments, understanding of professors’ expectations.
A clear point or thesis.</li></li></ul><li>Policies for Preparedness<br />Florida Senate Bill 1908<br /><ul><li>This policy will include communication between community colleges and local high schools.
The Florida College Entry-Level Placement Test will be administered to high school students at the beginning of the tenth grade for the purpose of obtaining counseling regarding future college and career planning and for the purpose of providing remedial instruction that may be appropriate.
High school eleventh or twelfth grade students also may be given the option of taking the Placement Test. </li></li></ul><li>Policies for Preparedness<br />Florida Senate Bill 1908<br />College readiness and college preparatory courses will be made available to high school students for .5 elective credit.<br />They are entitled:<br /><ul><li>Math for College Success
Reading for College Success </li></li></ul><li>Conclusion<br /><ul><li>Policymakers and administrators depend on educators’ knowledge of best practices for writing instruction and assessment.
Educators, in turn, need to make administrators and policymakers aware of necessary changes to curricula and testing criteria.
In the classroom, teachers need to see and teach writing as social, cognitive, and textual, rather than isolated or immediately producible.
Technology will continue to be implemented in schools and workplaces, which means that teachers and students must be mindful of writing standards, even while utilizing multimedia programs in replacement of pen and paper.
Finally, by building transferable and contextual writing skills, high school teachers may better prepare their graduates for the learning and writing tasks ahead of them.</li></li></ul><li>Take part in the revolution.<br />Prepare YourselvesPrepare your Students<br />