How to Introduce Our Students to Authentic Audiences

A Note from Matt: If you have time, check out my Edutopia post this week on teaching grammar in context. There are few changes I’ve made in my class over the years that have been more impactful than ditching grammar worksheets in favor of embedding grammar instruction into the reading and writing already happening in class. 

I was working with some teachers in Ohio recently, and during our session we looked at what I believe are three of the most interesting meta-studies concerning teaching writing in recent history: NCTE/NWP/WPA’s Framework for Success in Post Secondary Writing, Writing Next by Stephen Graham and Dolores Perin, and the NCTE’s most recent position statement on teaching writing. Each of these studies serves as a thoughtful and informative meditation on how to develop young writers, but what strikes me most about them is that they all come to wildly different conclusions; the Framework focuses almost exclusively on habits of mind and process as the keys to developing young writers, Writing Next argues that direct teaching of specific skills is how we move writers forward, and the NCTE Position Statement takes a more holistic approach, making a case for the importance of a wide array of factors, ranging from technology to assessing writing.

In fact, beyond each giving a nod to the importance of process, there is actually only one common suggestion they share: All three identify writing regularly for a wide range of purposes, in a wide range of genres, and to a wide range of audiences as being essential for strong writing development. Continue reading “How to Introduce Our Students to Authentic Audiences”