1. Why or in what ways is writing important to your discipline/field/profession?
Writing is central to the field of education as it is through writing that we make sense of the world; learners use writing to think, to discover, to understand. Writing is also a means of communication and teacher candidates must show competence in writing to communicate with families and community, contribute to academic reports on students, write plans for substitute teachers and participate in professional writing on district, state and national levels.
Most importantly, writing is an art and a craft: We write to convey, to express, to inform, to entertain, to remember, to explain, to surprise, to examine, to teach, to convince, to persuade, to analyze … and prospective teachers must show competence in these (and other) areas of writing as, ultimately, they will serve as models of writers and writing for students in classrooms.
2. Which courses are designated as satisfying the Writing in the Discipline (WID) requirement by your department? Why these courses?
ELED 469 Seminar in Student Teaching (Elementary)
ECED 469 Seminar in Student Teaching (Early Childhood)
Both ELED 469 and ECED 469 are capstone courses. They encapsulate the varied writing experiences students will have engaged in throughout program coursework, culminating in the Teacher Candidate Work Sample (TCWS).
The TCWS is an academic piece of writing which tells the story of how students engage in learning a particular aspect of content, while also using writing to:
- Contextualize an educational setting
- Plan for lessons
- Analyze data in a variety of ways
- Explain a process of study
- Evaluate findings
- Reflect on decisions made and future directions
3. What forms or genres of writing will students learn and practice in your department’s WID courses? Why these genres?
Students in the Elementary and Early Childhood programs should expect to engage in three broad kinds of writing:
- Academic (research papers, presentations, case studies)
- Professional (communication with students, families and community partners; philosophies of education and statements of belief)
- Reflective (looking back on teaching/learning for the purpose of informing instruction)
As they write in these three domains, students will have opportunities to practice other kinds of writing, including:
All of the writing in which students engage will help them learn to
- Chart growth in student learning over time
- Document changes in students’ attitude toward a content, discipline, type of writing
- Offer suggestions about how to go forward
4. What kinds of teaching practices will students encounter in your department’s WID courses?
Students in the Elementary and Early Childhood programs will experience, first-hand, writing practices they will be asking their students to engage in: choosing topics, one-to-one writing conferences with the professor; meeting in response groups in class to share writing and receive feedback; examining what makes a piece of writing effective – or not effective – and discussing why; reading model pieces in a variety of genres and discussing characteristics of effective writing; participating in the process of developing a rubric on which their own writing will be assessed – engaging in self-assessment, then reflecting on the process of rubric design and assessment and what that means for work with future students.
5. When they’ve satisfied your department’s WID requirement, what should students know and be able to do with writing?
They should know that writing has power: to inform, to instruct, to influence; that the genre and form depend on the purpose and audience; and that writing is a process which is recursive, not linear and it requires long, uninterrupted blocks of time.