Monday, June 11, 2012

Warnings About Writing Instruction

Question: Is this 1975 statement about writing instruction still true in 2012?

Answer/Quote: “If your children are attending college, the chances are that when they graduate they will be unable to write ordinary, expository English with any real degree of structure and lucidity. If they are in high school and planning to attend college, the chances are less than even that they will be able to write English at the minimal college level when they get there. If they are not planning to attend college, their skills in writing English may not even qualify them for secretarial or clerical work.” (Sheils, 1975, p. 58.

Quotes: “Many recent publications have described writing as the neglected ‘r.’…. There is very little data on what writing instruction looks like in schools…. Most studies of the past examined teachers who teach writing in an exceptional way….” P. 10.

Comment: This paragraph appeared in an article in Voices from the Middle, March 2012, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). It was published in 1975. It’s hard to believe that in this era (2012) of state writing tests, the SAT writing sample, and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) that writing is not being taught and learned. In my era, grammar was a substitute for writing. What do you think about the teaching of writing today? I think the statement is out of date. RayS.

Title: “Progressive Writing Instruction: Empowering School Leaders and Teachers.” J Lacina and CC Block. Voices from the Middle (March 2012), 10-17,

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