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Teaching Writing as Reflective Practice

George Hillocks Jr. Celia Genishi Dorothy S. Strickland Donna E. Alvermann

264 pages
Teachers College Press
What is involved in the effective teaching of writing at the secondary and college freshmen levels? In Teaching Writing as Reflective Practice, George Hillocks, Jr. starts with the basic assumption that writing is at the heart of education, and provides a metatheory to respond to the above question. Hillocks explores “Reflective Practice” and argues that it requires an integration of a variety of theories (including general writing process theory, Vygotskian learning theory, discourse theory, and a Deweyan constructivist theory of inquiry); a personal practical knowledge of students and of teaching practices; research—where it is important to examine the implications of theory and submit theory to questioning. ;The book examines these areas of knowledge and how they contribute to reflective planning, teaching, and research. This concern with theory and research is offset by Hillocks’ attention to the practical matters of the classroom—an unusual combination of theoretical argument within the personal concrete narratives of practice. ;The book outlines the theories involved, explains the bridges between them, and provides a coherent basis, or metatheory, for thinking about the teaching of writing. Practically, it shows how to plan activities and sequences of activities that are appropriate for students—that are within Vygotsky’s “zone of proximal development”. Focus is placed on inventing “gateway activities” that allow students to operate on a higher level, at first with support and later independently. Such invention cannot be approached mechanically, but is part of the art of teaching. ;Teaching Writing as Reflective Practice is a must-read for teachers and professors who teach writing at the secondary and college levels and will be an important resource in courses in writing, literacy, theories of teaching and learning, and general English education.
Author Bio
George Hillocks, Jr. is a professor in the Department of Education and the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Chicago, where he is also Director of the Master of Arts in Teaching/English Program.