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Title:"Writing teachers must write": tracing trajectories of teacher participation across professional and everyday practices
Author(s):Woodard, Rebecca
Director of Research:McCarthey, Sarah J.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):McCarthey, Sarah J.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Dyson, Anne H.; Prior, Paul A.; Roozen, Kevin
Department / Program:Curriculum and Instruction
Discipline:Curriculum and Instruction
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Writing instruction
Teacher writing
Teacher practice
Out of school practice
Abstract:Although the idea that “writing teachers must write” is pervasive, little is known about how teachers’ participation in out-of-school writing practices shapes their writing instruction. To date, most research on teacher practice has been limited to institutional settings like classrooms, pre-service education settings, and professional development sites. This dissertation broadens the study of teacher practice by moving beyond institutional walls with six elementary, middle, high school, and college writing teachers. Qualitative case study methods were used to interview and observe the teachers participating in their writing classrooms, and across various sites of professional and everyday writing practice—including at a local National Writing Project Summer Institute site, in creative and academic writing groups, and blog writing. Teachers in this study used their writing practices—both academic and non-academic—in their everyday lives to make meaning in the world. They also drew from these writing practices in their instruction and identity work; the teachers bridged their personal writing interests into their composition instruction, employed specialized language and practices from their writing, and capitalized on their developing writing identities and practices to create new opportunities for students writers. However, teachers also experienced tensions between writing and teaching writing; their purposes and audiences for ‘real’ writing differed greatly from the purposes and audiences for student ‘school’ writing, and they sometimes essentialized the identities of ‘real’ writers as published, good, or professional. Recognizing teachers’ everyday writing practices as classroom resources may have transformative potential for instruction; however, teacher educators and professional developers need to work to help teachers develop dispositions as composition risk-takers and “players” (Smith, Feb. 7, 2013) to help reduce tensions related to understandings of ‘real’ writing and writers. This research ultimately argues that theoretical attention to the development of teachers’ practices and identities across diverse networks of participation (Dreier, 1999; Prior, 1998; Scollon, 2001; Wenger, 1998) can help us reconceptualize how we understand, study, and promote writing instruction and teacher development.
Issue Date:2013-08-22
Rights Information:Copyright 2013 Rebecca Woodard
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-08-22
Date Deposited:2013-08

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