Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Write in the Middle
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Write in the Middle
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Workshop 5: Teaching Multigenre Writing

Key Practices To Observe in Workshop 5

This workshop demonstrates the following effective practices for teaching writing in general and for teaching multigenre writing specifically:

  • Teachers choose an approach to writing that reveals a broad definition of genre and that enables students to communicate in a variety of forms for a variety of purposes and readers. The range of options stimulates students' interest in their work and gives them experience in writing in various realistic forms.
  • Teachers reveal their appreciation of the diversity of interests and cultural backgrounds in their classes. The approach establishes a meaningful reason for writing, which improves the odds for students' development as writers, and it also indicates the teachers' affirmation of their students, as well as the importance of differentiating practices to meet the needs of students.
  • In the multigenre project, teachers promote student ownership as writers and as learners. Students consider options for genres, as well as topics they may focus on. Such ownership, choice, and decision-making are important influences on student writers.
  • Each teacher establishes a specific structure and logical method of guiding the students in their work, for example the FQI (facts, questions, interpretation) method demonstrated by one teacher and the autobiography project demonstrated by another. Though students have many options, teaching practices are intentional and well organized.
  • The teachers prompt students' curiosity, leading them to inquiry that is significant to them. Writing is for a genuine, meaningful-to-student purpose. Students investigate and recognize that writing is a mode of learning and discovery. The purpose of multigenre writing is not merely to gain experience in writing a variety of forms.
  • Ample opportunity is provided for students to talk about possibilities and to help each other in the project. Teachers emphasize that the students are part of a community and should support and help each other. Class activities reveal the efforts of students and teacher to work in a supportive community.
  • Teachers read often to the students, and the students themselves read to understand different genres, as well as to learn about their topics. Reading serves both to engage the students and to teach them about the genres. Reading aloud is especially important for students who are early learners of English.
  • Both teachers and classmates respond to students' work through whole-class discussion, small-group work, and teacher-student conferences.
  • Teachers provide appropriate examples and help students understand how they can learn about different genres. With the variety inherent in multigenre writing, having examples available is especially important. Students are challenged to read carefully to determine the characteristics of a chosen genre, and, of course, teachers provide information to help students.

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