ERIC Number: ED163492
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Jun
Reference Count: 0
The Problem of Dead Letters: Social Perspectives on the Teaching of Writing. Research Series No. 34.
Comments of experienced teachers suggest that writing may be avoided in school not simply because of its inherent difficulty, but because its undertaking typically lacks connection to anything else in the lives of students or teachers. It is possible that teachers can best serve the acquisition of writing skills by structuring the social occasions within which writing might function meaningfully, thus creating a situation similar to that in which children first acquire language skills. One second-grade classroom in central Michigan, in which children do a great deal of writing, was studied closely by researchers during one school year. The classroom had been transformed into the town of "Betterburg" and included such features as law enforcement and governing agencies, cultural and commercial activities, and a postal system. Children wrote often and produced a wide variety of documents; their central writing activity was writing letters to each other, their families, and such outsiders as manufacturers of toys and games. The postal system of Betterburg symbolizes the potential efficacy of the students in the world of communication. (The report includes items showing the importance students attached to their town of "Betterburg" and a table showing writing products and occasions for writing on one particular day.) (GW)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (DHEW), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Michigan State Univ., East Lansing. Inst. for Research on Teaching.