ERIC Number: ED439429
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000
Report in Argument's Clothing: An Ecological Perspective on Writing Instruction.
Nystrand, Martin; Graff, Nelson
As teaching argumentative and persuasive writing returns to the classroom, so does the question of how to do so effectively. Process writing reforms over the past 30 years have sought to change the ways writing is taught from drill and practice in grammar exercises to a focus more on continuous writing and revision. Arguing from an ecological perspective on writing development, however, it shows that such changes may not be enough. Based on a 9-week observation of a middle-school language arts-social studies block class, it claims that competing demands in modern classrooms can lead to environments that sabotage the teaching of argument. The students in this class, in a unit that included writing an argumentative research paper, wrote "hybrid" texts--argumentative theses followed but not always supported by lists of facts. In trying to explain these texts, the researchers realized that the epistemology fostered by classroom talk and other activities was inimical to the complex rhetoric the teacher was trying to develop in encouraging students to write arguments. A student's completed essay is attached. (Contains 17 references.) (Author/RS)
Descriptors: Classroom Environment, Classroom Research, Language Arts, Middle Schools, Persuasive Discourse, Social Studies, Teacher Behavior, Writing Assignments, Writing Instruction, Writing Research
National Research Center on English Learning and Achievement, University at Albany, State University of New York, School of Education, B-9, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12222. Tel: 518-442-5026. For full text: http://cela.albany.edu/nygraff/index.html.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Research Center on English Learning and Achievement, Albany, NY.