Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Research: Writing to Learn

Question: What is the value of writing to learning something?

Answer/Quote: “In the past decade there has been increasing interest by writing researchers in what has become called writing-to-learn. Numerous articles have speculated on the important role that writing may play in aiding students to better understand and learn school related materials. Emig (1977), for example, catalogued the unique correspondences between writing and learning. She noted that by its nature writing forces integration of ideas, requires the establishment of relationships, provides immediate and tangible feedback, and forces personal involvement with material. Odell (1980) noted that writing entails conscious exploration of the information one is writing about…. Van Nostrand (1979) observed that composing involves the joining of pieces of information into relationships; consequently by writing about something individuals come to know more than they did before writing.” P. 67.

Comment: Not all of what students write needs to be corrected. Learning journals, for example, give students the opportunity to explore, to question, to speculate about and reflect on what they are learning. This information can be most helpful to a teacher in finding out how well their students are learning and what the teacher needs to emphasize. I wish I had used learning journals when I was teaching. RayS.

Title: “Conceptualizing and Measuring Knowledge Change Due to Writing.” GM Schumacher and JG Nash. Research in the Teaching of English (February 1991), 67-96.

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