Date of Award
Master of Arts in Education
Writing has always been one of the corners tones of American education . Schools are concerned with the development of students, and writing contributes to the development of the whole person. The public is alarmed because many students graduate from high school without being able to write well enough to function in today's complicated society.
There a re many reasons why schools fail to do a good job in the teaching of writing. One of the main reasons is the schools' over-emphasis on the teaching of grammar. Many teachers are not trained as teachers of writing and rely on the English text as their instructional guide. The main thrusts of these texts are grammar and the mechanics of writing. Because of this, little time in a typical English classroom is actually spent on instruction of writing.
Writing is a complicated process, and the methods used to teach it need to be revitalized. If students' writing skills are to be improved , old, unsuccessful, grammar-based instruction must be abandoned, and new methods tried. Research has offered many suggestions to improve writing instruction . A good writing curriculum should provide for the following : Student motivation, daily writing, peer editing, prewriting activities, use of literary models, integration with other content areas, whole class and group activities , varied writing assignments with instruction in grammar, capitalization, and punctuation as the need arises.
This curriculum provides the above in an unique manner. The students create an imaginary town. They choose, the name, location, size and time period . Each student invents and assumes a new identity. Based on this imaginary town, a variety of writing activities arise.
Students are given many opportunities to interact and learn from fellow students, as peer editing is an important aspect of this writing curriculum. Peer groups are used to brainstorm for ideas , offer suggestions for revision, provide assistance in proofreading and editing , and evaluate finished work . Using this curriculum, the students have many opportunities to explore with language, take risks and experience success. Students are given both a purpose and an audience for their writing. This provides motivation to write and motivation to strive for clear expression. The students see a real need to learn and use the rules of grammar , punctuation, and capitalization, and practice good handwriting because they read their compositions aloud in their peer editing groups. Research skill s are gained as the students become familiar with the history of the state in which their town is located . The students have opportunities to experiment with many types of writing: autobiographies, descriptions opportunities to experiment with many types of writing: autobiographies, descriptions of characters and places, paragraphs giving directions, interviews, political speeches for town elections, chamber- of-commerce type brochures to advertise the town, researched state histories , original (but based on historical fact) history of the town , personal and business letters, job applications , newspaper stories, journal entries, essays , poetry , myths, tall tales, and made-up stories involving characters in the town.
Broadfoot, Barbara, "Create a New Town and a New You to Improve Writing Skills" (1987). Theses. 481.
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