Preparing to Teach Writing: Research, Theory, and Practice

Preparing to Teach Writing: Research, Theory, and Practice

Preparing to Teach Writing: Research, Theory, and Practice

Preparing to Teach Writing: Research, Theory, and Practice

Synopsis

Preparing to Teach Writing: Research, Theory, and Practice, Third Edition is a comprehensive survey of theories, research, and methods associated with teaching composition successfully. The primary goal is to provide practicing and prospective teachers with the knowledge they need to be effective teachers of writing and to prepare them for the many challenges they will face in the classroom. Overall, the third edition of Preparing to Teach Writing is clearer and more comprehensive than the previous editions. It combines the best of the old with new information and features. The discussions and references to foundational studies that helped define the field of rhetoric and composition are preserved in this edition. Also preserved is most of the pedagogical apparatus that characterized the first two editions; research and theory are examined with the aim of informing teaching.

Excerpt

My first teaching job many years ago was at a high school just outside San Jose, California. I taught six writing classes and monitored the rest rooms during lunch hours while trying to understand why my students couldn't write. In spite of my English degree and credential, nothing I did seemed to help, perhaps because I really had not been prepared to teach writing. It just wasn't part of the education curriculum in those days. Overwhelmed by how much I didn't know, I began reading everything I could about teaching writing, which wasn't much because there wasn't much available.

Over the next decade, that situation changed. Rhetoric and composition emerged as a field of study, and eventually I completed a PhD in that field. My first university position was at UCLA, where I was asked to teach, among other things, a class in composition theory and methods for young people seeking their teaching credentials. This course determined the direction of my career, and I have been training teachers, with only a few interruptions, ever since. That summer, I reflected on my experiences as a teacher and began planning the course. I quickly realized that most of the materials I had used for my graduate work were inappropriate for prospective elementary and high school teachers, and I started looking for a text or two that covered all the topics that I thought were important for these students. A couple of titles looked promising until I reviewed them. They were either too deep or too shallow. I finally resorted to profligate photocopying, putting together a “course pack” that was expensive and hard to use.

By the end of my first year at UCLA, I decided that I would write my own book that would include all the topics and information that beginning teachers need if they are going to teach writing effectively. Pre-

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