ERIC Number: ED395310
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996
Reference Count: N/A
Middle School Penpals for University Students: Project Penpal.
Allen, Sheilah M.
For a teacher educator, a 2-year leave in Australia inspired her to replicate in Canada an Australian penpal project in which preservice elementary teachers wrote to school children who answered the letters and eventually met their penpals. Her preservice secondary teachers, English majors, wrote to eighth-grade students taught by one of her ex-graduate students. The hope was that both groups of students would find a context for writing to real audiences for real purposes. The suburban middle school which the youngsters attended contained computer labs and is networked. An additional area of interest was to learn about middle school aged students and to have the university students "connect" with the younger students. Compatibility was crucial, and the matching of penpals proved to be extremely effective. Letters were picked up and dropped off with regularity. Time was allotted during class for reading letters. In the education class, letters often served as discussion starters. Both boys and girls, and men and women, professed to have enjoyed the project and learned from it. While they did not learn what was expected in terms of literacy, the letter exchange did promote understanding and friendship, in spite of individual differences which existed, regardless of gender or ability. (Contains nine references.) (NKA)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Penpals; Preservice Teachers; Writing Contexts
Note: For related papers, see ED 390 057 and CS 215 233.