Writing and Talk - National Council of Teachers of English
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Writing and Talk

This post first appeared 12/10/17.


With 9 days left to the National Day on Writing, we’re sharing a series of reflections from members and professionals who demonstrate why writing is vital to everything we do.




Professional Knowledge for the Teaching of Writing, written by a committee of the NCTE Executive Committee, pinpoints 10 key issues in the effective teaching of writing. One key issue is this:

“Writing has a complex relationship to talk.”

Throughout the developmental process, writers need opportunities to talk about what they are writing about, to rehearse the language of their upcoming texts and run ideas by trusted classmates and colleagues before committing words to paper. Read more from NCTE and ReadWriteThink.org on the strong relationships between talk and writing.

In this excerpt from Wondrous Words: Writers and Writing in the Elementary Classroom “Conferring: The Essential Teaching Act” the author shares how she believes conferences are “the essential act” in workshop teaching because of their individualized nature. Because we invite students to do different kinds of things with writing, and because they are at many different places in their experiences as writers, they need different kinds of teaching to support that very individual work.

This strategy guide from ReadWriteThink.org explains how you can employ peer review in your classroom, guiding students as they offer each other constructive feedback to improve their writing and communication skills.

“The Student /Teacher Writing Conference: Teaching Kids to Write About What They Know!” a blog post by a Texas teacher shares her “work smarter, not harder” motto.  Her students aren’t simply churning out a bunch of essays, but instead they revisit pieces they previously created with more purpose, just like good writers do.

Writing conferences can be even more beneficial for student writers with the help of the tips in “Reworking Conferencing for More Effective Writing Feedback.”

“The Teacher-Student Writing Conference and the Desire for Intimacy” from College English traces the literature on writing conferences throughout decades and makes connections to the present.

How do you use the NCTE Professional Knowledge for the Teaching of Writing in your classroom?