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The Writing Curriculum is Changing
posted by: Tim | November 14, 2012, 09:42 PM   

>>> Originally posted by Melissa Pratt on the AAE Blog

Education Week
produced a report today that looks at the changing role of language arts curriculum.  One of the most interesting aspects concerns the changing role of writing in the language arts.



Educators are giving more emphasis to writing for many reasons.  Under No Child Left Behind, tests were mandated in literacy and for many states this became synonymous with reading comprehension.  While writing was taught, it was often as an afterthought to reading skills. Colleges and employers have been reporting for several years now that writing skills are lacking.  The need to teach these skills along with evidence that links being able to write about a text to reading comprehension, and, of course, the overarching need to respond to the common core is driving the change.


In response to this need, schools are not only teaching writing more, they are changing how they teach writing. In the past, many schools have focused on having students write personal narratives.  Now schools are promoting curriculums that have students writing informational pieces which more closely duplicates the type of writing they will do in college and in the workplace.  On the heels of the Common Core’s push on analysis, some schools are also guiding students through the process of writing analytical pieces on works of literature as well.


Writing is not a skill that needs to be limited to just language arts and history classes.  New Dorp High School in Long Island, NY made headlines across the nation when it implemented its Writing Revolution curriculum.  It made writing an integral part of every subject, every day and saw rewards from doing so.  The Education Week report points to similar results in schools that increased writing reports on experiments in their science curriculum and a teacher that found positive results in his algebra class when he made students write out procedurals for how to do problems.


Central to this shift in how we teach writing is how we think about writing.  No longer is writing viewed as an end in the educational process.  Teachers and schools are now thinking about writing as a means through which information is learned.  Educators do not need to throw out the idea that students should “write about what they know,” but should understand that they can help students learn and know about something enough to write about it.

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