Reading and Writing for Change
South Carolina Council of Teachers of English
January 29-30, 2016
Kiawah Island Resort
Session F: Saturday January 30, 10:45-11:30
Often we discuss how to teach writing, but more rare is a consideration of who should teach writing and what sort of background writing teachers need to teach well. Composition, in fact, is a field, but taking courses in literacy or having a degree in English are often seen as adequate preparation for teaching writing.
This session offers a complication of the idea that simply having an English degree prepares a teacher to teach writing by exploring thoughts of pre-service teachers with English degrees as they face teaching writing as beginning teachers.
“We need to talk…”: Conferring with High School Writers
Students of all levels of academia have often identified conferring as the technique that most improved their writing. These meetings of criticism and commendation offer significantly more feedback than returning a bleeding, red-inked paper. However, many high school writers graduate without experiencing a single writing conference. It’s not hard to guess why this happens: too many students and not remotely enough time. So, how can we adapt to these challenges? This section will briefly review the positive impacts of conferring with writers, while also exploring the varieties of how teachers can realistically implement the technique in their classrooms.
Teaching Whiteness (and Writing)
As white teachers, there are innumerable ways that we assume the universality of a white perspective and impose white thinking processes on children of color. Specifically, when teaching writing, white teachers are often blind to differences between spoken dialects and written, formal English: a difference that dramatically affects a student’s ability to learn conventional grammar and sentence structure. As a student teacher who will soon be expected to teach students the fundamentals of writing, I am painfully aware that teaching them “correct” writing is imposing white culture on my students. This presentation examines culturally responsive approaches to teaching writing.
How the 5-Paragraph Essay Murders Us All—Slowly and Surely
From preparing students for state testing to summarizing their readings of Moby Dick, the 5-paragraph essay is drilled into students over and over again. Despite the efficiency of this standard format, students hardly experience another form of writing by the time they graduate from high school. “How the 5-Paragraph Essay Murders Us All—Slowly and Surely” will look at the need to foster love and creativity of writing, while still respecting the expectation to teach analytical essays.
To Thesis or Not To Thesis: The Question of Teaching Writing In the English Discipline
Madelyn Wojnisz [non-attending; PowerPoint available]
Many high school students struggle with varying writing expectations among different disciplines (English, history, science, etc.). Writing literary analysis requires different criteria than writing in history or science. Therefore, in this presentation, I explore and clarify, both for myself and for others, what challenges teachers and students face when writing within the discipline of English.