National Council of Teachers of English

Resolution on Condemning the Use of Writing as Punishment

1984 NCTE Annual Business Meeting in Detroit, Michigan


This resolution stemmed from concern among teachers of English about research findings showing continued widespread use of writing as punishment by teachers and administrators in elementary and secondary schools. Using writing for punishment, NCTE members warned, distorts the principles and defeats the purposes of instruction in this important life skill and causes students to dislike an activity necessary to their intellectual development and career success. Be it therefore


Resolved, that the National Council of Teachers of English condemn punitive writing assignments;

that NCTE discourage teachers, administrators, and others from making a punishment of such writing as copywork, sentence repetition, original paragraphs and themes, and other assignments which inhibit desired attitudes and essential communication skills; and

that NCTE disseminate this opinion to the appropriate audiences, including the general public.


This position statement may be printed, copied, and disseminated without permission from NCTE.