Teaching for Writing Improvement

Teachers College Columbia University

How long?

  • 28 days
  • online

What are the topics?

Teachers College Columbia University

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Who should attend

Teachers and other practitioners who wish to boost students’ writing ability, including: K-12 teachers in English language arts, content-area and special education classrooms; school principals; professional development personnel, and school administrators.

About the course

This is a 2-module, 20 clock-hour, online professional development course that provides teachers and other educators with information about how to teach writing to elementary, middle and high school students who do not have full proficiency in writing. The course introduces participants to a framework for understanding the writing process, and describes techniques for teaching and assessing writing that are supported by empirical research. The course is online for 4 weeks (January 4 - 31, 2021). Participants submit required work at their own pace and may complete the requirements over 4 weekends during the month the course is online.

This course is asynchronous, meaning that participants complete the modules at their own pace, at times of their convenience, and do not have to be online at any given time within the one-month period. Students must complete Module 1 to receive acess to Module 2 and must complete Module 2 to complete the course. A digital certificate will be awarded upon completion of both Modules.

Description of Modules

Module 1: Conceptual Framework and Writing Assessment – 10 clock hours

Framework for understanding how we write.

  • Models of the writing process
  • Sociocultural influences on the writing process
  • Writing of native and non-native speakers of English
  • Emotional factors in the writing process (anxiety and depression related to writing tasks)
  • The development of writing skills: typical acquisition, and patterns in dyslexia and other LDs

Assessment of writing in school settings.

  • Assessing the quality of writing of proficient English speakers and English language learners
  • Assessing use of vocabulary in writing
  • Assessing conventions in writing (grammar, punctuation)
  • Assessing spelling
  • Controversy: automated, computer-based assessment

Module 2: How to Teach Writing in School Settings – 10 clock hours

  • How to plan to teach writing based on prior assessment (teaching foundational and higher level skills in elementary, middle and high school; using evidence-based approaches to teach writing)
  • Teaching culturally and linguistically diverse populations (cultural sensitivity; ELL and Generation 1.5 learners)
  • Common core standards for three major genres of academic writing (narrative, persuasive/ argumentative, and informational/ explanatory)
  • How to teach narrative writing – elementary school level
  • How to teach persuasive/ argumentative writing at the elementary school level
  • How to teach persuasive/ argumentative writing at the middle and high school level
  • How to teach informational/ explanatory writing at the elementary school level
  • How to teach informational/ explanatory writing at the middle and high school level
  • How to contextualize the teaching of writing
  • How to integrate the teaching of writing and reading (text-based writing; summarization)

Learning Objectives

Participants will be become familiar with the following concepts and practices in teaching writing to students who have writing difficulties:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the processes in skilled writing
  • Describe the writing of various populations, including typically-developing students, students with learning difficulties, native English speakers, non-native speakers who speak English fluently, and English language learners
  • Demonstrate an understanding of influences on writing ability, such as sociocultural differences and emotional functioning
  • Describe research-based approaches to assessing writing in school settings
  • Create a plan to teach writing to low-achieving students at a specific grade level
  • Demonstrate understanding of approaches to teaching writing to culturally and linguistically diverse students
  • Discuss common core competencies for major academic genres of writing (narrative, descriptive/ informational and persuasive/ argumentative)
  • Describe best practice for teaching narrative, descriptive/ informational and persuasive/ argumentative writing skills to low-achieving students
  • Describe how the teaching of writing can be contextualized
  • Explain how the teaching of writing and reading can be integrated

Experts

Dolores Perin

Dolores Perin, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology and Education and Chairperson in the Health and Behavior Studies Department at Teachers College, Columbia University. She directs the Applied Education Psychology: Reading Specialist Program, which prepares students for state certification as a Te...

Teaching for Writing Improvement at Teachers College Columbia University

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