Sunday, October 9, 2011
Who killed writing instruction?
In a recent Education Week commentary, teacher Paula Stacey argues that, thanks to increased attention from the education establishment, writing instruction in schools has become overly prescriptive and process-oriented. She cites the now habitual and unquestioned use of graphic organizers, brainstorming worksheets, idea-structuring exercises, fixed essay formats, and required "genres"--none of which seem to help students once they get to college and are asked to develop complex ideas in writing. "In our desire to help students engage in the process of writing," Stacey contends, "we have defined a process that really isn't writing." Her advice: "Let's get rid of the narrow models" and allow for "the messy process that is thinking."
What's your view?
Has writing instruction become too prescriptive? Can less structured approaches be effective? What supports do students need?
What works (or doesn't work) for you? I would love to hear your thoughts!!