Writing Research Trends & Future Directions
Joanne Addison and James Sharon McGee really picked apart and dissected everything I had been studying researching and learning in my writing instruction professional development classes. Over the past few years the Common Core Standards have taken over the world of education. And now, a little more than five years later there is talk of doing away with it all together. What the CCS ushered in was a new way in which we taught and thought about student writing in terns of their preparedness for college. In a nutshell I learned that our students, especially those coming from an urban school district are not prepared for college writing.
This information is neither surprising nor shocking. I did find it however, troubling that everyone knows this to be a a fact. "The most highly satisfied faculty are those at the private high school, and the least satisfied those at the urban high school." Why is this? Why is it that we can recognize the disparity but we still even with our studies and our research we can't seem to bridge this gap and send urban high school students ready for a life in academia? Educators, myself included seem to keep sending them to college with a bullseye on them that points to their inequities.
I do think what can be learned from this particular research study is where the trends are going. What exactly is going to be required of students from the moment they enter high school until the time they graduate from college. The early educators are able to understand and learn how to teach this style of writing effectively, then students will be better able to do it on a higher level. One of the ways in which I think this can be done is if we make all teachers, writing teachers. This means science and social studies teachers are requiring the same level of high quality writing from their students. "In large-scale studies, institutional studies, and our own research, it seems that much of the writing assigned to students across the curriculum does intend to promote deep learning, although very little prepares students for writing beyond the academy." This shows us that there is a void. If we can close this gap and make the writing across the curricula intentionally meaningful with many opportunities for deeper learning students will be able to write for college and beyond.
Another point that stuck out to me was the idea that the writing done in college does not prepare students for writing done once they're no longer students. The idea that students need to be trained to write memos and send emails is important. Unless you go on to do scholarly writing or stay in the world of academia the analytic essay writing serves no purpose at all. There seems to be some ideas as to what will happen in the future. "One possibility among many is literary journalism that is rooted in artfully crafted narrative and critical research-based writing." I think that this is a very important writing skill that we should try and teach earlier rather than later. There seems to be so much data that allows us to exactly pinpoint what is not working. We seem to know where the cracks in the foundation lie. Now if can use this knowledge to create quality writing opportunities that hold value to both the instructors and their students then I think we will be well on our way.